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Hobby Lobby Ruling Generates Strong Reactions In Rutland

Nina Keck
Reactions to Monday's Supreme Court decision at the Hobby Lobby store in Rutland have been strong and mixed.

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that family-owned corporations don't have to pay for contraception services for employees as required by the Affordable Care Act. The case centered on the right to religious freedom. It was brought by Hobby Lobby a craft supply retailer, which has one store in Rutland.

Reaction to today's Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case has been strong and mixed.  Michael Meehan of Worthington, Massachusetts was waiting for his wife and daughter outside the Hobby Lobby in Rutland. "I'm somewhat distressed by the decision," said Meehan. "I don’t think the employer should get to pick and choose the specifics of a health plan for the employees. And I don’t like that say the employees of   Hobby Lobby who might desperately want family planning are going to be locked out of it by the thrust of this decision."

Nearby, a Danby resident who asked that we only use her first name, Pat, said the decision made her angry. “I think it’s very unfair,” she said. “I think it’s lopsided and I think the Supreme Court is lopsided as well, you know, so many of their rulings have bothered me. But with Hobby Lobby this is really going to affect an awful lot of women I think and I just think it’s not just Hobby Lobby, the repercussions are going to be very wide on this thing.”

Pat said the decision has made her think twice about shopping at the craft chain. “Definitely, I wouldn’t.  I just don’t think why would I support people who have such a hard line when it comes to women’s issues.  I respect  someone’s religion - but live and let live and don’t force your beliefs on someone else.”

Nearby, Marilyn Snow of Brandon agreed. “These businesses, they just want to control everything - your own private lives - it’s not okay with me.”

But Cindy Champagne, also from Brandon, disagreed and thought the court got it right. “There are always two sides to every story. You have a conflict here,” said Champagne. “You have religious freedom and they’re trying to work with the health care, but religious freedom comes first to me. You can’t go against people’s morals - religious freedom is a moral and when you start taking morals away, what else is going to happen?”

Champagne said religious freedom is one area that the Supreme Court shouldn’t touch.

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