Demonstrators returned to Hobby Lobby in Burbank yesterday in small but determined numbers.They are protesting the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which allows the giant crafts and home decor retailer to refuse to cover certain forms of female birth control in its employee health insurance plan because of the religious beliefs of the owners. The controversial high court decision allows Hobby Lobby to opt out of a mandate to provide all types of contraceptives in the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
For several hours in the heat, the protesters staked out spots beside the driveway into the parking lot for Hobby Lobby. Born and raised in Burbank, Chris Kelley joined the protest for a second time on Saturday. Kelley says he wants to make the point to “… keep corporations out of women’s reproductive rights.” He’s married 26 years and is the father of two daughters.
Perched on the other side of the Hobby Lobby driveway, Cassandra Huerlbut and Debbie Cherry, who both work in the entertainment industry. Burbank resident for about eight months, Cherry says the ruling is definitely “against women,” but it affects men as well by most likely forcing some of them to become fathers “before they want to.”
At one point, Huerlbut and Cherry tensed up when a male pedestrian walked up to them. They relaxed when the man began to thank them for standing against Hobby Lobby.
The reaction to the protest is sometimes heartfelt thanks, motorists honking horns, cheering, waving, or folks stopping to ask questions about the issue. Then, there is the negative stuff. Some opponents scream insults, nasty names, or give the protesters the finger. The worst of the dissenters are the male harassers. Cherry says “one chased me to the car.” I have heard about similar experiences from other female protesters. Despite the harassers and the hot temperatures, before they left, the demonstrators made plans to return to the same stretch of sidewalk on Victory Boulevard next Saturday to continue the protest.