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Hobby Lobby battles federal government over healthcare

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The legal battle between the federal government and Hobby Lobby heads to court.

The arts and crafts company opposes part of President Obama's healthcare act.

Thursday both sides argued their case in federal court.

The owners of Hobby Lobby argue the federal mandate would violate their religious faith.

They want the court to exempt them from part of the law.

The company currently covers most prescription contraceptives but the Green family opposes a new mandate to provide employees access to a handful of select drugs, known as the morning after birth control pill.

"All they're asking for is a narrow exemption from the law that says they don't have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions," Hobby Lobby attorney Kyle Duncan said.

In federal court, the government argued Hobby Lobby does not have the same religious protection as individuals.

Given the low opinion many Oklahomans said they have of Pres. Obama, it's no surprise the federal mandate proved unpopular with most customers at this store.

"I hate it when they impose things on companies or people," one shopper said.

"The federal government shouldn't be telling businesses how to run their business with their healthcare," another customer said.

"Our basic point is the government can't put a corporation in the position of choosing between its faith and following the law," Duncan said.

Hobby Lobby's attorney said whatever the judge decides, the case could set a precedent that goes beyond the arts and crafts giant.

"The implications could be important because it would recognize the religious liberty to resist the government from forcing companies to cover services that are against their conscience," Duncan said.

Attorneys with the federal government did not have anything to say about the case.

In the meantime, the federal mandate is set to take effect Jan.1 of 2013.

As a result, the judge said he will issue a ruling as soon as possible.

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