Hobby Lobby’s annual revenue in 2011, according to Forbes. Since its founding in Oklahoma City in 1972, the company has grown to about 500 locations nationwide. It is owned by the Green family, who also run a chain of Christian bookstores. In challenging the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for companies to provide insurance companies for contraception, the Greens cited their evangelical Christian beliefs that certain types of birth control, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and morning-after pills like Plan B and Ella.
Hobby Lobby has said it has no issue with covering other forms of contraception mandated by Obamacare.
The ACA already allows for exemptions from the contraception mandate for churches and nonprofit religious groups. But the majority Supreme Court decision, penned by Justice Samuel Alito, stated that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could apply to a for-profit business like Hobby Lobby, which are family-owned and “closely held.”
“Congress provided protection for people like the ... Greens by employing a familiar legal fiction: It included corporations within RFRA’s definition of 'persons,' ” Justice Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “But it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this fiction is to provide protection for human beings. A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends. An established body of law specifies the rights and obligations of the people (including shareholders, officers, and employees) who are associated with a corporation in one way or another. When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people.”
In other words, corporations qualify for protections of their religious beliefs because they are made up of individuals, although publicly traded companies cannot seek such protections. The decision also applied to the Christian bookstore chain owned by the Greens and to Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite-owned cabinetmaker based in Pennsylvania.