Weingartz Supply Co. wins round in health law dispute - New York News

Weingartz Supply Co. wins round in health law dispute

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DETROIT -- A judge has blocked the government from taking any action against a Detroit-area company that opposes the contraception mandate in the new federal health law.

Federal Judge Robert Cleland says the government could eventually win the lawsuit, but he ordered a preliminary injunction Wednesday in favor of Weingartz Supply Co., which sells outdoor power equipment.

Weingartz says the contraception mandate violates the free speech rights of company owners who are Roman Catholic. But under the new health care law, companies can be fined if they don't offer insurance.

"Religious liberty is America's first freedom," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. "Any rule, regulation or law that forces American employers to violate their free exercise of religion is a flat-out violation of the First Amendment and federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"This victory is an important step in defeating an unconstitutional mandate that will force private sector job-providers across America to violate their conscience. The First Amendment applies to everyone, and we must defend religious liberty for all, not just the chosen few dictated by the federal government."

Cleland justified the injunction by saying the loss of First Amendment rights, even for a brief period, is an "irreparable injury."

- The Associated Press contributed to this story

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