OKLAHOMA CITY —
Kyle Duncan, Hobby Lobby’s lead attorney, argued that requiring the company to comply with the mandate would be a burden to religious exercise. The U.S. Department of Human Services has granted exemptions from portions of the health care law for plans that cover tens of millions of people and an injunction for Hobby Lobby would be in the public interest and would not burden the government, he said.
The government’s lawyer, Michelle Bennett, urged Heaton to consider the potential harm an injunction might create for Hobby Lobby’s 13,000 employees and members of their families who would be denied coverage for the emergency contraceptives.
In handing down his ruling, Heaton said he was surprised that the Denver-based 10th Circuit’s decision in the case seemed to extend a person’s constitutional religious exercise rights to businesses. He said it was in the public interest to issue an injunction to give courts time to resolve “substantial unanswered questions.”
“The questions that are being presented here are new,” the judge said.