- (Photo: Reuters)
- (Photo courtesy TMLC)
The founder of Domino's Pizza won an injunction against the HHS mandate that forces employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.
"The HHS Mandate forces our clients to provide abortion causing drugs to their employees when doing so is a direct violation of the teachings of the Catholic Church and our clients' sincerely held religious beliefs. The Court's decision today upholds everyone's freedom of religion and rights protected by the Constitution," said Erin Mersino of the Thomas More Law Center, who represented Tom Monaghan, owner of Domino's Farm Corporation.
Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the Eastern District of Michigan had previously granted an emergency temporary restraining order for the plaintiffs.
"It is in the best interest of the public that Monaghan not be compelled to act in conflict with his religious beliefs," Zatkoff wrote in his decision on March 14.
Monaghan owns Domino's Farms Corporation and founded Domino's Pizza in 1960, though he sold the pizza chain in 1998. The American entrepreneur is a Roman Catholic who has provided a lot of financial support to pro-life causes, and has opposed the Health and Human Services mandate, which is part of "Obamacare.".
The Catholic Church in America has strongly opposed the HHS clause that forces employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. Many conservatives have said that exemptions for religious organizations are very limited and do not provide protection for for-profit businesses, which has led to a growing list of lawsuits against Obamacare.
"Judge Zatkoff's decision protects our freedoms granted under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Government argued against the preliminary injunction by claiming that once a business owner chooses to enter into the marketplace, he surrenders his right to exercise his religious beliefs," Mersino stated, praising the court's decision.
TMLC's lead lawyer in the case reportedly cited former President Ronald Reagan in his briefing to the court. Reagan once said that "those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny."
The government is expected to appeal the decision at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, TMLC noted.
Other legal groups that have defended Catholic positions against the contraceptive mandate, like Alliance Defending Freedom, have insisted that business owners like Monaghan should be entitled to exemptions to the HHS mandate based on their religious convictions.
"Americans should be free to honor God and live according to their consciences no matter where they are. A person's faith convictions don't disappear the moment he or she steps outside of a church building," ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton previously said.