In Wichita, as well as across the country, protesters have taken on Hobby Lobby since their victory handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The court ruled that Hobby Lobby does not have to pay for their employee’s birth control, because of their religious beliefs. People marched in front of the Hobby Lobby at Ridge and Central, here in Wichita.
“They (Supreme Court) really did overreach,” said Jessica Nellis, one of about 20 protesters present at 1:30 in the afternoon. She said she was surprised when the ruling was announced. The protest was scheduled from 9:00am to 8:00pm, this Saturday.
“The Supreme Court left it opened to interpretation,” Nellis continued. “What if these people were Muslims and they didn’t want to hire non-Muslims?”
Hobby Lobby will no longer have to pay for coverage of the two contraceptives (IUDs and Plan B) that they consider abortifacients, (reported by National Catholic Reporter).
The 5-4 ruling only applies to the federal mandate. State-mandated contraceptive coverage was not changed by the decision.
The court majority ruled that "persons" with religious beliefs protected by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) include "closely-held" corporations -- those defined by the Internal Revenue Service as having 50 percent of their stock owned by five or fewer individuals. This means that if the federal government wants to force such corporations to do something contrary to their religious beliefs, then it has a series of legal hurdles to overcome.
Nellis, as with many people concerned about this action, plans to boycott Hobby Lobby.
“I used to shop here and now I don’t,” Nellis added. “It’s a shame. They have it wrong on IUDs (intrauterine device). If anything it gets rid of the need for an abortion to happen.”
This protest was organized by a few individuals using a Facebook page they created. Charli James was one of the protesters on hand who help organize the event. She said the turnout had been pretty good so far.
“We had one group of guys who showed up and got in our faces,” James said. “They didn’t think we were right. There were a few antagonists.”
She added that many other people who passed them had a positive attitude towards the protest.
“One guy showed up with a gun,” she added.
Someone took a picture of him and posted it on the Facebook page. James said he was vague as to where he stood on the issue.
“He said he was there to protect us,” she added.
That person wrote into Facebook and said his name was Sam McCrory. His presents at the rally and on Facebook sparked heated discussion. Otherwise the protest went peaceful the rest of the day.