REACTION: Mississippi leaders, groups respond to Hobby Lobby ruling

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Reaction from across the state of Mississippi was largely in favor of the move. Below are some of the statements released to the media after the decision was announced.

Catholic Diocese of Biloxi: "We welcome today's Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Owners of businesses, especially businesses that are closely-held, should not have to check their values and religious convictions at the door when they enter the marketplace. The HHS mandate attempted to coerce believers to act against our deeply-held religious beliefs--though there were and are numerous other ways of achieving the government's objective. Just as Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, so too the Executive Branch may not use its regulatory power to unjustly infringe on the consciences of citizens. Mandating persons to act against their conscience is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, and our country's long tradition of religious liberty. While narrow in its scope, this decision of the Supreme Court is a victory for liberty."

Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi): "I am pleased that this Supreme Court decision places some restraint on the reach of the federal government. I supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that core religious beliefs are not trampled by an activist government. This decision, I believe, strengthens the argument that Obamacare, which I opposed from the start, must be repealed and replaced with a law that does not infringe on individual and religious freedoms."

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi): "Americans should not be forced to decide between their faith and their health insurance. Today's decision is a victory for the First Amendment and the religious freedom it guarantees to every American."

Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4th District): "Today's ruling delivers another devastating blow to ObamaCare and protects the freedom of Americans to live and work based on their religious beliefs," Palazzo stated. "I'm encouraged that the Supreme Court sided with us - and the majority of Americans who oppose ObamaCare's HHS mandate - in ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. You don't give up your constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedoms just because you own a business."

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant: "I am very pleased the Supreme Court moved to uphold religious freedom today in its opinion in the Hobby Lobby case. Its decision confirms my position that our state did the right thing in enacting a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act and protecting religious liberty for Mississippians.

The federal RFRA requires the government to prove that substantially burdening religious freedom is necessary to achieve a truly compelling government interest. The Obama Administration had other options for implementing its policy, yet it chose to try and force individuals to violate their strongly held religious beliefs. This proves how out of line and self-important this administration is and how out of touch this president is with the basic principles of freedom on which this nation was founded. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed, and the Court ruled on the side of freedom and religious liberty.

The Court's ruling also made clear that RFRA does not authorize unlawful discrimination. Mississippi's RFRA statute, which takes effect July 1, is nearly identical to the federal law, and I hope the Court's opinion proves to detractors of Mississippi's law that claims of discrimination are baseless."

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