One Family’s Religious Liberty Is Protected -- for Now

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Matt Bowman is the legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, and today won an injunction in behalf of the Newland family of Denver, Colo. The Newlands are a Catholic family who run Hercules Industries, a business that distributes air-conditioning, heating, and ventilation supplies and does not provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health plans. Without the injunction that was issued today by a Jimmy Carter–appointed judge, John Kane, the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring that coverage would have gone into effect, forcing them to choose between conscience and following this federal regulation (more here). Bowman explains the significance of the win:

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What does the injunction mean for the Newland family?

MATTHEW BOWMAN: It means that for their 2012–13 health plan, they can continue to omit abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization consistent with their faith, and that they won’t be forced by the federal government to choose between their faith and maintaining their family business.

LOPEZ: What was most significant and instructive from the judge’s ruling?

BOWMAN: The judge observed that the government’s alleged public interests pale in comparison to the ruin the government is threatening this family business with if they want to abide by their Catholic beliefs.

: Should other businesses be encouraged by this? Should other entities suing HHS over the mandate?

BOWMAN: Yes. The injunction only applies to the Newlands and their business, but the principle applies to all the lawsuits: Washington bureaucrats cannot use Obamacare to force people of faith to violate their faith in order to earn a living or engage in other activities in society.

: Do you expect more suits?

BOWMAN: Yes, and more wins.

: Who else has a problem come August 1?

BOWMAN: This injunction specifically only protects the Newland family. Every religious believer is in the crosshairs of Obamacare mandates, this one beginning to impose itself starting next week.

: Is this something to celebrate? Or do you find yourself perplexed you’re having to defend religious liberty in court against the federal government?

BOWMAN: Both. Religious freedom still means something in our country. But only if we fight for it. That is what Alliance Defending Freedom exists to do, and will do in order to spread this victory across our land.

Read an earlier interview with Bowman here about the case and the religious-liberty situation some secular businesses find themselves in come August 1

The Corner

The one and only.