Wed, Mar 26, 2014 - Page 7 News List

US court weighs religious rights versus birth control

AFP, WASHINGTON

Lori Windham of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is defending Hobby Lobby, said that “what is at stake here is whether you’re able to keep your religious freedom when you open your family business.”

Green scored a victory in June last year when the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, ruled that “associations” and not just individuals were entitled to religious freedoms.

If Hobby Lobby wins its Supreme Court challenge, “that would mark a defeat for the government and for access to contraception, to be sure,” said Steven Schwinn of John Marshall Law School. “Without the contraception requirements, the act itself necessarily stands on somewhat less solid ground.”

To decide the case, the justices will examine claims that the contraception provision violates the First Amendment and the US’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 federal statute that prevents laws from hampering the free exercise of religion.

The court, which often sides with businesses, will also have to look back at its 2010 Citizens United decision — in which it found that corporations had free speech rights that shield them from political-spending limits — before it reaches a decision, which is expected in late June.

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