Recently the 6th Circuit denied an appeal by Eden Foods, Inc. (“Eden Foods”) that claimed the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Michael Potter, a Roman Catholic, and the sole owner and shareholder of Eden Foods, filed suit against the federal government claiming that the contraception mandate would interfere with his and his company’s exercise of religion.
The Court held that a secular, for profit company is not entitled to protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The three judge panel followed the lead of another 6th Circuit Panel’s September 17th ruling upholding the denial of an injunction against the contraception mandate. That case was filed by auto parts manufacturer Autocam Corp. The Autocam opinion concluded that the right of free exercise of religion never extends to secular, for profit companies.
In contrast to these decisions by the 6th Circuit the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to individuals and secular organizations.
The U.S. Supreme Court may have to resolve this issue. Stay tuned!