CAP: Hobby Lobby and 1062

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rights of the Green Family (who own Hobby Lobby) and the Hahn family (who own Conestoga Wood Specialties) had a very real tie to Arizona’s SB 1062.

One of the primary purposes CAP supported SB 1062 was to clarify Arizona’s own Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that every Arizonan is not forced to surrender their religious beliefs merely because they start a business.

In the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito echoed this fundamental principle when he wrote:

“Business practices compelled or limited by the tenets of a religious doctrine fall comfortably within the understanding of the “exercise of religion” that this Court set out in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith.

Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law.”

Make no mistake, this was no small victory for religious freedom, but it also is not the final word. There is still much to be done to ensure every Arizonan is free to live and work according to their faith.

As with SB 1062, opponents have launched a massive misinformation campaign about the decision. Take time to understand what government mandates were objectionable to the Green and Hahn families. The federal government attempted to compel the family-owned businesses to provide and pay for abortion medication in their employee health insurance plans. Hobby Lobby did not object to providing 16 of 20 contraceptive medications mandated by the government – it’s the other four that can function to cause an abortion that were objectionable.

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