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Monday, June 30, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is applauding the United States Supreme Court ruling that closely-held, private companies cannot be forced to offer insurance coverage for birth control methods they equate with abortion. The ruling is the final decision in a suit filed by Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. in September 2012.
“Exactly what was supposed to happen today did and religious freedom was upheld,” said Doak. “Today’s ruling represents a significant win for Hobby Lobby, the Green family and our employers in the fight for religious freedom. I applaud the Supreme Court in its ruling and am grateful to the Greens for sticking to their beliefs on such an important issue.”
Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit argued that the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the company’s religious beliefs. The opinion released today, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, ruled that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects for-profit businesses from being forced to violate their religious beliefs in order to comply with ACA-mandated contraceptive methods.
“The Hobby Lobby case represents taking a stand against the federal government requiring actions that go against religious beliefs,” said Doak. “This is the first time that the high court has ruled that for-profit businesses can hold religious views under federal law and marks a change in tide for the better.”
Commissioner Doak called for a vote during the 2012 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Spring Meeting to unite insurance commissioners in protecting religious freedoms from federally-mandated healthcare coverage that contradicts religious doctrine. The resolution failed to clear committee, but Doak plans to continue to work with other commissioners to affirm the protection of religious freedoms based on the Supreme Court ruling.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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Kelly Collins Dexter