Sixteen states joined a group of Christian schools’ in the fight against the Obamacare contraception mandate Monday.
Houston Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University and Westminster Theological Seminary have applied for an exemption from the mandate similar to the one that was awarded to Hobby Lobby by the Supreme Court after the company’s protracted legal battle.
The universities have not been complying with the mandate but received an injunction to stop the large fines from piling up while court proceedings continue.
“The Supreme Court has already granted interim relief from the HHS Mandate to religious groups five times,” Diana Verm, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said in a statement. “The government has exempted thousands of businesses from the HHS Mandate, so why is it needlessly forcing religious institutions, nuns and homeless shelters to carry out its goals? Isn’t that what its own exchanges are meant to do?”
In 2013, a judge ruled in favor of the universities, but an appellate judge overturned that ruling in April, 2015. The universities have now appealed to the Supreme Court.
On Monday, Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, And West Virginia filed friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of the universities.
“This strong show of support for HBU and ETBU demonstrates just how important it is that the Supreme Court address the impact of the HHS mandate, particularly on religious groups,” Verm said in a statement. “It is especially significant that 16 state governments are supporting HBU and ETBU at the Supreme Court.”
Just last month a federal court ruled against Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns fighting a similar battle.
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