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Small Victory for Catholic Business Owners

The U.S. District Court in Colorado has granted an injunction to a Colorado business that filed suit against the Obama administration’s mandate that their health insurance cover contraceptive services. Hercules Industries is owned by the Newland family. These devout Catholics sued Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after being told the mandate applied to small businesses run by Catholics as well as Catholic religious institutions.

In granting the injunction Judge John Kane has said the business does not have to comply with the Health and Human services rule that the provide contraception.

The Newlands are devout Catholics and like the religious institutions that have filed suit against the Obama administration’s mandate that their health insurance cover contraceptive services, the Newlands filed suit against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when they were told the mandate applied to small businesses run by Catholics as well as Catholic religious institutions.

Since Hercules Industries would be required to begin offering the new coverage when its self-insured plan renews on November first the group representing Hercules, Alliance Defending Freedom requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the government from enforcing the mandate against the company until a hearing can be conducted..

From the Investors Business Daily:

“In the Department of Justice’s filing in Newland v. Sebelius — a suit brought by William, Paul and James Newland, and their sister, Christine Ketterhagen, the Department of Justice made the assertion — worthy of Stalinist Russia — that Hercules Industries has “made no showing of a religious belief which requires that (it) engage in the (HVAC) business.””

While their faith does not require them to open up an HVAC business, it does require them to act in all aspects of their lives and dealings with others in accordance with their faith. They argued that the mandate to provide contraceptive coverage or face existential fines placed an undue burden on their First Amendment right to practice their faith. The court agreed.

In his order, Kane said the government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion. The injunction applies only to the Newlands and their family business.

The Family Research Council President Tony Perkins offered additional comments:

“We are pleased that the court is offering temporary protection for the Newland family, ensuring that, for now, the family will not be forced to violate their religious beliefs as demanded by President Obama’s abortion drug and contraceptive mandate. While this ruling is a victory, it is limited to the Newland family which underscores why Congress must act soon to protect all families.

Thousands – if not hundreds of thousands of dollars – in fines await any company that ignores the President’s decree. For the Newlands, and other families like them, the effect on business could be back-breaking new taxes. For the first time in history, the government would become a vehicle for punishing business owners who apply their faith to their professional lives.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is so hostile to Christians and beholden to the abortion movement that it fails to see the profoundly human element of this mandate and how it impacts everyday life for millions of Americans. The Newlands are the face of family businesses across America which, next week, will be the casualties of an unprecedented war on religious freedom.”

Stay tuned. This story is not finished.

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