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Supreme Court: Hobby Lobby Doesn’t Have to Cover Cost of Birth Control for Female Employees

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely-watched Supreme Court case has ended in a victory for the owners of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores.

The owners objected to a provision of the new health care law requiring that they cover contraceptives for women — saying it violated their religious views. And today, the high court ruled 5-to-4 that they don’t have to provide that coverage.

It’s the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. But the ruling applies only to corporations that are controlled by just a few people — in which there’s no essential difference between the business and its owners.

Hobby Lobby, with more than 15,000 full-time employees at 600 stores in 41 states, is owned by the Green family, evangelical Christians who say they run their business on biblical principles. The other company awaiting today’s ruling is Conestoga Wood Specialties, which is owned by a family of Mennonite Christians.

The companies and their backers argue that a 1993 federal law on religious freedom extends to businesses through their owners.

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