By: Mike Pike
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, saying that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives over their owners’ religious objections.
The Court held that the contraceptive mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), violates the private companies’ rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA prohibits the government from substantially burdening the exercise of religion unless that burden is the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.
A closely held corporation is owned by a relatively small number of owners, as opposed to a corporation that has thousands or millions of owners or shareholders. Hobby Lobby, owned by a family that believes life begins at conception, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, owned by a Mennonite family, are closely held companies that challenged the Affordable Care Act provision at issue. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties did not forfeit RFRA protections when they organized as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships, the Court said in its ruling.
The vast majority of corporate clients of Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike are closely held corporations owned by a few individuals, often by a family. We’ve helped many people over the years with their family business needs. As small business owners ourselves, we understand and are able to provide valuable advice to help small business owners navigate through a world that is growing more and more complex by the day.
If you have concerns about how the law affects your small business, be sure to consult an attorney.
Mike currently is the attorney for the Cities of Radcliff and Vine Grove, advising elected officials, employees, and various city boards on a wide variety of legal matters. A member of the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, Hardin County Bar, Meade County Bar, and Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Mike focuses his legal practice on cases concerning personal injury and social security, municipal law, business formation, and estates and probate law. Additionally, Mike oversees the real estate law department for the firm.