Moore Hobby Lobby patrons praise SCOTUS ruling
The Supreme Court's decision on Hobby Lobby — that the retailer's owners and owners of other private companies can't be compelled to provide birth control as part of health insurance coverage in violation of their religious convictions — proved Monday to be quite divisive.
The court itself was divided, with a 5-4 vote that came among ideological lines, in invalidating the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate.
Public reaction was vociferous, as thousands of armchair pundits took to the Internet to argue both sides with varying amounts of outrage or exhalation. One group did appear to be united on the subject, however: area Hobby Lobby shoppers.
"I respect them for being closed on Sundays, and I'm glad to hear that they won," said Kathy Dillon, who was shopping at the company's Southern Pines store Monday afternoon, a few hours after the decision was announced. Dillon said she hadn't heard about the verdict yet but was familiar with the case and supported Hobby Lobby's argument.
She and other shoppers said Monday that Hobby Lobby's public image as a Christian company made them more eager to shop there, and that they appreciated the company making a political statement with its lawsuit.
"Politics is a dirty word," said shopper Wayne Mims. "But it's an evil necessity. You've got to be involved to get the right thing done."
At issue were arguments made by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga Wood, and other business owners who say their faith as Christians prevented them from paying for certain contraceptives which they claim enable the deaths of the unborn. Under Obamacare, employers have been required to cover abortion-inducing drugs in health-care plans for employees.
The Obama administration was not pleased with the decision. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday that, "Today's decision jeopardizes the health of the women who are employed by these companies."
Yet, one shopper at the Southern Pines store said she doesn't buy such arguments because women don't need to rely on their employers for access to contraceptives and birth control.
"I don't feel that Hobby Lobby should be responsible for people's sexual coverage, especially since it's something people can get for themselves," Grace Fecik said.
Fecik, Dillon and Mims all said they were glad Hobby Lobby pursued its lawsuit.
"I definitely support businesses that do [broadcast a Christian message]," Mims said. "I have a business myself, and I stand for what I believe in."
A manager at the Southern Pines store said neither he nor any other employee were authorized to give their own opinions. But opinions were not in short supply Monday, as some area politicians also weighed in on the debate.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, both Republicans, released statements Monday saying they were glad to see the ruling.
"Today's ruling is an affirmation of what we've known all along — that Obamacare is a massive federal overreach into Americans' private lives," Burr said. "I am pleased that the Court sided with conscience."
Ellmers, who has made opposition to the law one of her main political calling cards, said the decision is a good step toward dismantling the law in is entirety.
"Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it has had a devastating impact on our society — from job creators and local economies, to patient-centered care and individual liberties," Ellmers said. "Today's decision tackles one of the many serious dangers of this law, and I am thrilled to see that the fundamental religious rights of all Americans are being protected at the highest level."
But U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, criticized the ruling in a press release of her own.
"It is shameful that a woman's access to contraception is even up for debate in the year 2014," Hagan said. "The choice about whether to use birth control should be between a woman and her doctor, not her boss, and no employer should be allowed to interfere with a woman's access to contraception."
Conestoga Wood Specialties President and CEO Anthony Hahn released a statement Monday thanking the company's supporters in the suit.
"We wholeheartedly affirm what the Supreme Court made clear today — that Americans don't have to surrender their freedom when they open a family business," he said. "All Americans, including family business owners, must be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment. As I said at the beginning of this lawsuit, this effort wasn't just for Conestoga. We took this stand for others as well. The administration has gone too far in disrespecting the freedom of Americans to live out their convictions. For our family and others like us, that means it must respect our freedom not to participate in the distribution of drugs and devices that can cause an abortion."
In addition to winning a Supreme Court case, Hobby Lobby is growing. The company has announced it will soon open a store in Lee County, off of Horner Boulevard near the existing Southside Plaza. It will be joined by a Marshall's and several other yet-to-be-named businesses in a shopping center still under construction.