In contradiction to the Obama administration’s recent claims of “unwavering” support for religious freedom, the president’s lawyers filed an appeal Tuesday of a court order that upheld the religious freedom of a Colorado family business.
In July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued the order, which halted enforcement of the administration’s abortion pill mandate against Denver’s Hercules Industries and its owners while an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawsuit challenging the mandate continues.
“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration claims ‘unwavering’ support for religious freedom, but this appeal demonstrates that the only thing unwavering is the administration’s tenacious opposition to that freedom,” says ADF senior legal Counsel Matt Bowman.
“The cost of religious freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that would cripple their business and potentially destroy jobs if the administration ultimately has its way. In filing its appeal today, the administration sent a clear message that it wants to force families to abandon their faith in order to earn a living. That’s the opposite of religious freedom.”
The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
On July 27, ADF attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order issued in Newland v. Sebelius, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could subject the Newland family to millions of dollars in fines per year if they don’t abide by the mandate’s requirements.
The Colorado House of Representatives honored Hercules Industries last month for its many contributions to the community and its employees after the city and county of Denver backed out of a similar proclamation because of the business’s success in court.
ADF attorneys are also litigating three other lawsuits against the mandate: one in Indiana on behalf of Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary and California’s Biola University; one in Pennsylvania on behalf of Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company and its owners, the Hepler family; and one in Louisiana on behalf of Louisiana College. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.