Michigan is a state that many pollsters and others believe is a close toss-up in today’s election, although it seems to be leaning more towards Barack Obama than for Mitt Romney. With one of the nation’s largest enclaves of Muslims and strong union influence, I would tend to think that Michigan would lean more heavily in Obama’s favor.
This is why I was so surprised and pleased to learn about Weingartz Supply Company’s lawsuit involving Obamacare’s contraception mandate. The company first opened their doors in 1945 to sell and service outdoor power equipment. For the past 67 years, the company has been family owned and operated with Daniel Weingartz currently at the helm. The Weingartz family are devout Catholics and Daniel quickly realized that Obama’s contraception mandate violated his and his family’s religious beliefs
Daniel filed suit in May against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent from being forced into something that was so abhorrent to his faith. In his lawsuit, he stated that he personally tailored his employee’s health plan to reflect his Catholic beliefs. As such, it prohibits him from providing the contraceptive coverage that the mandate dictates.
In what may be a real surprise to many, Bill Schuette, Michigan Attorney General assisted Weingartz and the Thomas More Law Center in the case. Schuette went so far as to file an amicus brief on behalf of Weingartz.
Last Wednesday, Judge Robert Cleland of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Weingartz a temporary injunction against having to comply to the contraception mandate at this time. Cleland also stated that since Jan. 1, 2013 is the date that the contraception mandate goes into effect, that any actual ruling in Weingartz’s case would not be forthcoming until sometime after that time.
In rendering the temporary injunction in favor of the Weingartz Supply Company, Judge Cleland wrote:
“The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”
“The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs, the balance of harms tips strongly in Mr. Weingartz’ favor.”
After Wednesday’s ruling, Schuette stated:
“The First Amendment applies to everyone, and we must defend religious liberty for all–not just the chosen few dictated by the federal government.”
However, like other victories over the contraception mandate, they are temporary. Their final outcome may lie in today’s election. If Mitt Romney wins and manages to repeal Obamacare, along with the contraception mandate, then the cases will most likely be dropped. If Barack Obama wins, the court battles on this may go on for the duration of his term.