Hobby Lobby founders David and Barbara Green said they prayerfully await the U.S. Supreme Court justices’ decision after attorneys argued a landmark religious freedom case brought by the company.
“We are thankful that the Supreme Court has heard our case,” Barbara Green stated in a press release March 25. “Our family started Hobby Lobby built on our faith and together as a family. We’ve kept that tradition for more than 40 years and we want to continue to live out our faith in the way we do business.”
The court in Washington, D.C. heard extended oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Sebelius v. Conestoga Wood, which challenge the Affordable Care Act’s Health and Human Services mandate on contraceptive coverage.
The Greens argue their arts-and-crafts store is a family business with the same religious freedom rights as an individual under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The federal mandate requires businesses that don’t fall under the mandate’s religious exemption to provide potentially life-terminating drugs and devices in employee health insurance plans.
Hobby Lobby, which didn’t qualify for the exemption, said the mandate violates its religious beliefs. The company took their case to court for the severe fines it would pay for noncompliance.
Former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement, who argued on behalf of the two companies, and The Becket Fund for Religious liberty counsel Lori Windham, gave statements after the oral arguments.
“No one should be forced to give up their constitutionally protected civil rights just to open a family business,” Windham said. “This case demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the government’s efforts to strip this family business of its religious rights represent a gross violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.”
The Becket Fund is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religions.
The oral arguments stated the law does not exclude the family businesses and their owners from religious freedom protections.
“The choice that the government has forced on us is out of step with the history of our great nation founded on religious freedom,” Green said. “We believe that no American should lose their religious freedom just because they open a family business.”
The Court is expected to rule on the case in June.