Vt. shoppers react to Hobby Lobby contraception ruling - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. shoppers react to Hobby Lobby contraception ruling

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Some Southern Vermonters won't be shopping at the Rutland Hobby Lobby anymore.

"I think it's ridiculous that they are making rules about that because it's none of their business, it's their body," said Erin Kelly of Rutland.

For some, it was business as usual at the store on South Main Street Tuesday. Shoppers were not fazed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week that family-owned corporations, like the arts and crafts retailer, don't have to pay for contraception services for employees as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

"I think it's quite wonderful because I think companies should have some say in what they give their employees," said Mary Bellerose of Ludlow.

"It was a valid decision, one that I would support," said Walter Huss, who is vacationing in Vermont.

Twenty-five employees at the Rutland store, the only Vermont location, will be affected by the 5-4 ruling.

Sen. Patrick Leahy worries that a group of conservative judges is changing laws for the entire country.

"It should not be the man who runs the company who decides whether a woman has access to birth control. It should be the woman most affected by it," said Leahy, D-Vermont.

But the Green family, who started Hobby Lobby stores out of their garage and describe themselves as devout Christians, call this a victory for religious freedom.

"Well, we think this is a landmark religious liberty decision that means Americans don't give up their religious freedom when they open a family business," said Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund.

Those who support the Rutland location say if you don't like it, go somewhere else.

"I mean, no one is forced to work at Hobby Lobby," Bellerose said.

"I just think that everybody, do what they want to do for religion," said Alice Reid of Castleton.

Others, who used to be fans of the store, call the ruling a disappointment.

"It sucks because it's such a cool store, but if they don't support something that, you know, a lot of women need," Kelly said.

The Rutland store, along with all 550 Hobby Lobby stores nationwide, has exercised many policies in line with their religion for years. The store has always been closed on Sundays, so their employees can adhere to religious obligations.

The ruling means that 16 of 20 preventative contraceptives will be covered, but Rutland Hobby Lobby employees and employees nationwide will not be covered for four contraceptive drugs and devices including the morning after pill and week-after pill.

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