Family Equality Council Statement on Hobby Lobby Ruling by Supreme Court

Family Equality Council®, the national organisation which connects, supports, and represents the estimated three million parents who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer in the United States and their six million children of all ages, today reacted to the United States Supreme Court Ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

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“Today’s Supreme Court Decision declares that ‘closely held for-profit corporations’ run by owners with ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ are exempt from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that employer-provided health insurance include access to contraception,” said Family Equality Council Director of Public Policy, Emily Hecht-McGowan.

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The Court’s opinion attempted to limit today’s ruling to the narrow question of contraception as it stated:

“…our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunisations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them. The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. Our decision today provides no such shield.”

“Religious liberty is a constitutionally protected interest, but what the Court did today is allow individual business owners to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, thereby limiting an employee’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions and access necessary and sometimes critical medical care,” Hecht-McGowan continued.

“Today’s decision highlights why it is critical to the LGBTQ community that we have strong, clear and unambiguous non-discrimination protections. Family Equality Council will continue to work with our partners in the LGBTQ and reproductive justice communities to limit the impact of this decision going forward.”

Family Equality Council Executive Director, Gabriel Blau added: “As this decision is interpreted by businesses, legal experts and citizens in the months and years ahead, we will be watching closely to ensure it is not used as a means to discriminate against our families.”

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