On Monday, most of us had never heard of the arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby (there's one in Davie on South University Drive). But now, thanks to a controversial 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that sided with the retailer's religious rights, we're all up to speed.
And now the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has chimed in on the ruling, saying it endangers women and their health.
Basically, ruling says that for-profit employers with religious objections -- such as Hobby Lobby -- can opt out of providing contraception coverage to women under Obamacare.
See also: ACLU of Florida Files Complaint Over Transgender Student's Discrimination
"The Court allowed a religious claim by a for-profit company to endanger the health of its female employees and thereby endanger the health of women all across the country," ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said in a news release.
"The court gave for-profit employers the power, based on a new notion of corporate religious belief, to deny contraception coverage to their female employees."
Simon went on to call the court's ruling "disturbing," pointing out the significance that the decision affects only women and their right to make decisions about their personal health.
"The attack on women's health is galling enough, but this is a dangerous precedent," Simon said. "As we have seen in Arizona and other states, there are some who would use religion to legitimize and legalize exemptions from anti-discrimination laws and other protections."
Simon, who calls the Supreme Court's decision "a huge step in the wrong direction," doesn't question the right to religious beliefs but questions if religious freedom means allowing a business to impose those beliefs on their employees.
For now, the ACLU is asking people who disagree with the ruling to sign a petition addressed to Hobby Lobby CEO David Green, telling him that those who oppose the ruling will be taking their business elsewhere:
Bosses shouldn't decide whether their employees have access to contraceptive coverage and I won't shop at any store where that happens.
Meanwhile, in a related case in Florida that is before the 11th Circuit, the ACLU has filed an amicus brief against similar claims brought against Hobby Lobby.
In Beckwith Electric Co. v. Sebelius, the case questions if the Florida-based for-profit electric company must comply with giving female employees access to insurance coverage for birth control through Obamacare.
Beckwith Order by Chris Joseph
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