WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked Hobby Lobby's request for an emergency injunction to block contraceptive insurance coverage requirements.
The court said Wednesday it won't decide the craft chain's case -- along with Christian bookseller Mardel, both owned by the Green Family of Oklahoma City -- before lower courts have ruled.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the stores don't meet extremely high standards required for an emergency injunction, a document on the Supreme Court's Web site stated.
"Even without an injunction pending appeal, the applicants may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts. Following a final judgment, they may, if necessary, file a petition" for the Supreme Court to hear the case, she wrote.
The stores have challenged the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's provisions pertaining to certain employer-funded contraception devices and pills that will go into effect Jan. 1.
The suit was assisted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman reported.
In November U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled that contraception health laws don't violate the stores' owner's religious beliefs. He said in a ruling on a preliminary injunction the retailers were "secular, for-profit corporations" and didn't have free-exercise rights under the First Amendment.
Hobby Lobby is the largest non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the coverage mandate.
Hobby Lobby Chief Executive Officer David Green, in a statement at the time, said the company is operated "in a manner consistent with biblical principles." He said he had no moral objection to what he termed "preventive contraception" and would continue to cover those under Hobby Lobby and Mardel health insurance plans.