By Mark Davis
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Connecticut’s senior U.S. Senator and womens’ rights advocates are calling on ‘Hobby Lobby’ to obey Connecticut law. The national retailer won that controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision two weeks ago that says they don’t have to.
Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) calls it a misguided decision but not everyone agrees.
The arts and crafts retailer is planning to expand well beyond their first store on Frontage Road in East Haven.
At least three other stores are planned to open in the near future. According to the “Hobby Lobby” website a location in Manchester should be ready to open in September with locations in Bristol and Milford opening in October.
It will make the privately held retailer the employer of many Connecticut residents presumably many women.
“I’m here to call on them to do the right thing and respect Connecticut law,” Blumenthal said at the Manchester construction site.
Connecticut law says that “Hobby Lobby” and all employers must include all forms of birth control approved by the F.D.A. in their insurance plans. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision says federal law says that if that violates the beliefs of the owners they don’t have to.
“Bosses should not reach out beyond the boardroom into our bedrooms,” said Christian Miron, the Executive Director of N.A.R.A.L. Pro-Choice Connecticut.
Blumenthal was joined Monday by Connecticut reproductive rights advocates in saying that “Hobby Lobby’s” policies amount to gender discrimination.
Christine Palm of the Connecticut Permanent Commission of the Status of Women noting, “we now learn that vasectomies, which are a male form of birth control, are allowed but various forms of birth control by women, are not.”
But Nicole Stacy of Hartford offers a differing view, “I’m here to speak for myself as a woman because it is often presumed that I tow this party line on birth control and I find that offensive.”
Nicole Stacy is with the ‘Family Institute of Connecticut’ and she added, “I’m a Catholic woman, I hold to the official teaching of the church and if I were to run a business like ‘Hobby Lobby’ I wouldn’t want the government coercing me to go against my conscience and to violate my most dearly held beliefs.”
Blumenthal has sent a letter to the C.E.O. of ‘Hobby Lobby’ asking him to have his Connecticut stores obey Connecticut law. News 8 has reached out to the company as well but so far have received no response.