Protesters Say Hobby Lobby Violates Employees’ Religious Freedom

July 30, 2014 Updated: July 31, 2014

LOS ANGELES—On Tuesday, about 100 people from a variety of organizations rallied outside a Hobby Lobby store in Laguna Niguel, Calif., holding signs like “Stop the Hobby Lobby Madness” and “Shop at Michaels.” Protesters lined the street outside of the business complex, handing out fliers and stickers, and talking with passersby.

The protesters accused Hobby Lobby’s owners of violating their employees’ religious beliefs by trying to impose their own Christian beliefs on them in the form of denying coverage of certain kinds of contraceptives.

The protest comes after the nation’s highest court ruled the store has the right to flaunt coverage rules under the Affordable Care Act, which previously only exempted religious organizations. 

The Supreme Court decided in a 5–4 decision on June 30 that covering contraceptives that abort an already fertilized egg “substantially burdened” the Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious beliefs.

Protesters Worried About Employee Freedoms

Dr. Bill Honigman, who belongs to the group Progressive Democrats of America, was one of the protesters outside Hobby Lobby. He argued that the court’s decision encroached on the religious rights of the Hobby Lobby employees.

“We all have freedom of religion in this country. It’s the First Amendment. It shouldn’t be granted to just the head of the corporation. It should be granted to all the employees.”

Margaret Downey, the founder and president of the Free Thought Society, said it’s a matter of scale and how many people the decision would affect.

“When Hobby Lobby advocates that it’s their religious opinion that women should not have these things available, that’s fine for a person to say that, but not a corporation, not an industry that hires hundreds, maybe thousands of people,” she said.

According to the crafting store’s website, it has 628 stores in 47 states.

One passerby, who said he decided to go into the Hobby Lobby store and buy something when he saw the protestors, didn’t agree.

“I’m kind of disappointed that they’re protesting because I feel that people have a choice on where they want to work,” said Jerry, who would not give his last name.

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