Kansas files brief supporting Hobby Lobby

Kansas has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Hobby Lobby Inc., an Oklahoma-based retail chain challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers cover emergency contraceptives.

Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green, a Christian, has objected to the regulation based on his religious principles.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office said the issue is not contraceptives but religious liberty. In a statement, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the Constitution protects businesses that want to base policies on religious teachings.

“This is true whether it is the [plaintiffs in this case] operating their businesses based on their Christian principles, a Jewish-owned deli that does not sell non-kosher foods, or a Muslim-owned financial brokerage that will not lend money for interest,” Schmidt said in an e-mailed statement. “The idea is as American as apple pie.”

The House Committee on Federal and State Affairs is weighing a bill that would protect wedding-related businesses refusing service to same-sex couples from discrimination lawsuits if federal courts overturn the state’s gay marriage ban.

In his statement, Schmidt said states such as Kansas “have a substantial interest in protecting religious liberty as one of the central features of American self-governing society. Religious liberty is a foundational freedom.”