Protesters, patrons clash outside Burbank Hobby Lobby

Between 20 and 30 protesters confronted shoppers walking into the new Hobby Lobby on Victory Boulevard in Burbank Friday morning, upset over a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the company to exempt certain contraceptives from employees' medical insurance on moral grounds. 

The Green family, which owns the craft chain, argued that being forced to provide IUDs and the so-called morning after pill -- a requirement under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare -- went against its evangelical Christian beliefs, as they believe such treatments are tantamount to abortion. 

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that "closely-held" companies -- meaning five or fewer people own 50% or more of a company -- can refuse to cover contraception if such coverage offends religious beliefs. 

On Twitter, Pastor Nick Reed of the Victory Burbank Church, said he had difficulty finding a spot due to the shoppers inside Hobby Lobby, not protesters outside. He said by 12:30 p.m., only about 10 protesters remained.

"I am sorry liberals have nothing better to do on July 4th," he Tweeted, ending with the hashtag #getalife. 

The Burbank store, in the former Orchard Supply Hardware space near the corner of Burbank and Victory boulevards, is the first to open since the Supreme Court ruling. 

Burbank resident Cheryl Holt said she came to voice her opinion against the Green family. She didn’t know that anyone else would be there, and was prepared to stand alone if she had to, to make her point.

“I just disagree with everything this family stands for,” Holt said. “With their money, they’re trying to push their beliefs on the rest of us, and I just think it’s wrong.”

Holt brought several poster board signs with her, including one that read simply: “Go away Hobby Lobby.”

A larger organized protest is planned for Monday, when the store will be hosting a Grand Opening event. Other, smaller demonstrations have been planned for Wednesday and next Saturday, attendees reported.

-- Dan Evans and Sara Cardine, Times Community News


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