Employers Cannot Be Forced to Violate Their Religious Freedom

In a narrow 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that closely held companies cannot be forced to violate their religious freedom. The case is one where under the ACA (Affordalbe Care Act) aka Obamacare, HHS (Health & Human Services) mandated that employers had to provide insurance that covered abortifacients free of charge with its insurance coverage. Hobby Lobby and several other businesses filed this suit on the grounds that this violated their religious freedom in that they opposed anything that effectively caused and miscarriage/abortion as abortifacients do.

This ruling is limited to closely held corporations. Investopedia defines these in the following way:

Any company that has only a limited number of shareholders. Closely held corporation stock is publicly traded on occasion, but not on a regular basis. These entities differ from privately owned firms that issue stock that is not publicly traded. Those who own shares of closely held corporations should consult a financial planner with expertise in the tax and estate ramifications that come with owning this type of stock.

Despite the fact that its stock is listed, many transactions between major shareholders and closely held corporations do not receive the same preferential tax treatment as those of corporations with actively traded stocks. Deductions and losses may not be allowed in some instances for parties involved in these transactions.

This ruling opens up other possible lawsuits against violations of religious freedom as well. Recent cases that come to mind are does this affect businesses that do not willingly provide services in same sex weddings or celebrations.

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