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After Supreme Court ruling, WCC optimistic about its lawsuit

Jul 3, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of Hobby Lobby -- allowing them to opt out of covering the cost of some contraceptives -- Wyoming Catholic College in Lander is optimistic its current litigation will proceed in a similar manner.

"Today Wyoming Catholic College rejoices in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, which trimmed the sails of an overreaching federal

government," said WCC president Kevin Roberts. "Our very first freedom is the freedom to worship and believe as we choose, so it is gratifying to see the Supreme Court protect the conscience rights of Americans, including private business owners."

The justices' 5-4 decision is the first time the high court has ruled that some profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law, according to published reports.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.

Roberts said WCC currently has an injunction providing temporary exemption from the mandate, because the college shares the same insurance provider, Christian Brothers Services, as the Little Sisters of the Poor which was granted an injunction in the U.S. District Court in Denver.

Also, WCC is one of five plaintiffs, according to Roberts, in the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne's lawsuit. The attorneys have appealed for an injunction as well.

"Nonetheless, this decision does not directly affect the college's pending litigation on the same mandate, as our lawsuit involves the special circumstances surrounding non-profit organizations," Roberts said. "Naturally, we hope that the administration comes to its senses and ends its abridgement of our conscience rights."

Roberts said if the administration continues to overreach, the college will continue its lawsuit, stating the college should not be compelled to violate its religious beliefs.

"The government's so-called accommodation to religious groups is a fraud: It requires me, as head of a Catholic entity, to sign a piece of paper that requires another person to violate what Catholics believe," Roberts said. "To reiterate what I have always said, Wyoming Catholic College will never comply with any bureaucrat's order to violate our natural rights."

In both of WCC's cases, Roberts said he predicts the college will know something final within the year.

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