The American Civil Liberties Union filed an Amicus brief on August 3rd, supporting the Department of Health and Human services in the suit O’Brien Industrial Holdings v. Department of Health and Human Services.
The ACLU compared those who oppose the HHS mandate to racists:
Regrettably, not so very long ago, businesses similarly claimed that their right to religious liberty entitled them to discriminate against African-American customers in public accommodations; universities claimed a religious liberty right to discriminate against African-American students; and employers claimed their right to religious freedom entitled them to pay men – who they considered to be the head of household based on their religious beliefs – more than women.
In their argument, the ACLU claims that the HHS mandate is acting to correct discrimination against women. They say that religious liberty concerns do not trump the need to correct discrimination. In the past some people have claimed that they needed to maintain segregation and discrimination against African-Americans on the basis of their religious beliefs. Therefore, religious objections agains the HHS mandate are equivalent to racism.
Interestingly, the Department of HHS has acknowledged that there are valid religious objections to this mandate. HHS has crafted an unjustly narrow religious exception in the mandate. It’s too narrow, but it is there, confirming that even this administration recognizes religious objections. Further, the administration has proposed so-called accommodations and granted one year extensions for enforcement for religious objections. If there is no valid religious objection to the HHS mandate (if it’s racist as the ACLU claims), and you don’t grant religious exceptions and you don’t propose accommodations for people with religious objections.
Mr. O’Brien is Catholic, and employs 87 people. He conducts his life, which includes his business, according to his religious beliefs.