Almost as soon as a federal judge ruled Hobby Lobby had to comply with the contraception mandate in health care reform law, the retail craft store asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to block that part of the health care law, slated to take effect January 1.
“There is a sense of urgency here,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby is the largest secular for-profit company to challenge the mandate. The chain operates more than 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 full-time employees who are eligible for health insurance. In ruling that Hobby Lobby had to comply with the health care law’s requirements, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions, but “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”
“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” the ruling said.
A hearing on the appeal has not yet been set.