The federal government is seeking to block Hobby Lobby from denying its employees access to the morning-after pill under the nation’s new health care law. Hobby Lobby’s attorneys are claiming this violates a constitutional right to freedom of religion. Associated Press reports:
The arts and crafts supply chain filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City last month, alleging the mandate is unconstitutional and will force the company’s owners “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits.” Failure to cover the drugs in Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day, according to the company.
The Oklahoma City-based chain requested an injunction to prohibit the law’s enforcement. But government attorneys claim Hobby Lobby cannot claim to exercise religion to avoid laws designed to regulate commercial activity.
“Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” the government said. It says a corporation and its owners are separate entities and Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, cannot eliminate the legal separation to impose their religious beliefs on the company and its employees.
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