Win: Judge backs Catholic firm over birth control mandate

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A Catholic-owned family business in Michigan does not have to comply with the provision of the new U.S. healthcare law that requires private employers to provide employees with health insurance that covers birth control, a federal judge in Detroit has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, in a ruling late Wednesday, temporarily blocked the government from forcing the owner of Weingartz Supply Company, which sells outdoor power equipment, to include contraception in its health coverage of employees.

The ruling only affects the company’s Catholic proprietor, Daniel Weingartz, and the approximately 170 people who work for him. But it opens the door for other firms to seek relief on religious grounds.

Cleland is the second federal judge to temporarily block part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 from being enforced against the religious owners of a family business. In July, U.S. District Judge John Kane in Denver temporarily prevented the government from requiring the Catholic owners of Hercules Industries Inc, a private manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

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