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Minnesota's own Hobby Lobby: MN businesses gain from SCOTUS ruling

Advocates of religious liberty have been celebrating across the country since Monday's Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case, which will allow certain family owned or "closely held" businesses to be exempt from the contraceptive mandate under Obamacare, for religious reasons.

But Hobby Lobby isn't the only business that's complained about the ruling in court. According to a June 30th article from the Daily Beast, at least 82 companies have filed similar cases across the country, and with Hobby Lobby getting a religious exemption, those companies most likely will, too.

See also: Franken, DFL, NARAL blast Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling; Bachmann approves

Of those companies, eight are actually based in Minnesota. They include:

  • Annex Medical Inc., a medical device company in Minnetonka
  • O'Brien Industrial Holding, a St. Joseph-based manufacturer
  • SMA, LLC, a construction company in Monticello
  • The QC Group, an inspection and training group in Minnetonka
  • Feltl and Company, Inc., an investment banking and brokerage firm based in Minneapolis
  • Doboszenski & Sons, Inc., an excavation company in Loretto
  • Hastings Automotive, a car dealership based in Hastings
  • Stinson Electric, Inc., an electrical services company in Minneapolis

We reached out to the owners of each company to hear what they thought of the rulings and what their next steps were. And while some were thrilled, there was also some confusion thrown into the mix.

Doug Erickson, the owner of Hastings Automotive, directed us to his representative in court, Jeremy Dys, a senior council with the Liberty Institute. Dys told us that the ruling was a big deal for his client, but it was more important for what it establishes across the country.

"I mean, it's obviously a landmark ruling for Doug because the Supreme Court has recognized his right to religious liberty when it came to this case," Dys said. "The Supreme Court has spoken, and that speaks to every case and every company."

Doug Doboszenski, the owner of the excavation company Doboszenski & Sons, Inc., said he's just happy to see the ruling come to an end.

"I'm happy going forward," Doboszenski said. "And frankly, I want it to be over. Because my job's to move dirt rather than argue about that. And frankly after the last six years and the economic situation, I have to make a living."

But one owner still had questions. Paul Archambault, the owner of Stinson Electric, sued the Health and Human Services department earlier this year over the contraceptive mandate, but he wasn't exactly ecstatic about the ruling.

"It's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't really cure our issue," said Archambault.

That issue, Archambault says, is that while the government may allow his company to not provide contraceptives to employees, he's yet to find a Minnesota insurance company who's willing to agree to those conditions, especially for a company with only 15 people. Archambault says that while he's calling every health care provider in the state to find a customized plan that wouldn't include contraception, it's been no luck so far.

"So now it's Stinson Electric against the insurance companies," Archambault said.

But Doboszenski said that his company has been able to find that insurance. He said that while he couldn't do anything about the 50 or so union members who work for him, he was able to find a plan for his other 15 employees through Medica that would omit contraceptive coverage.

Across the state, the SCOTUS ruling has been controversial, with prominent opponents like Al Franken lining up over the past few days to bash the decision. Linnea House, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota told us yesterday that the ruling seems to unfairly come after women

"Companies don't get to say, 'You can't have blood transfusions,' or other treatments they may have an objection to," House said. "The ruling] only affects women, and that's particularly narrow and hurtful, I think."

Send your story tips to the author, Robbie Feinberg. Follow him on Twitter @robbiefeinberg.


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