Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lawmaker: Hobby Lobby ruling a win for religious freedom

By The Herald Staff | 7/2/2014

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision sent a message heard throughout Washington, Blaine Finch said.

The court found the government in violation of a federal law protecting religious freedom by requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act. The ruling was welcome news for those who support religious freedom, state Rep. Finch, R-Ottawa, said.

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision sent a message heard throughout Washington, Blaine Finch said.

The court found the government in violation of a federal law protecting religious freedom by requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act. The ruling was welcome news for those who support religious freedom, state Rep. Finch, R-Ottawa, said.

“[Monday’s] ruling sends a strong message to Washington that, as Americans, we value the protections we are afforded by the First Amendment,” Finch said. “I’m proud to have helped pass the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, which will provide an additional barrier between big government and the religious freedom of Kansans.”

The Kansas legislation codifies the stricter standards for protecting religious liberties as utilized in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to a release from Finch.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Products — opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that opponents of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, said violated their religious liberty, according to media reports.

Kansas and 17 other states filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court backing the challenge to a provision in Obamacare that required certain employers to pay for and provide a government-mandated list of health care services to their employees, according to a news release from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office. The required coverage included certain health care services that conflicted with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the families that owned the companies that challenged the law.

“America’s bedrock principle of religious liberty today prevailed over the demands of the modern bureaucratic state,” Schmidt said Monday. “For the second time in two years, the United States Supreme Court has stricken a part of ‘Obamacare’ as illegal. Kansas has been a proud part of both those successes, and I am hopeful our other pending challenges will succeed in future years.”

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