A Customer Walked Into a Hobby Lobby and Told Them What We're All Thinking
This Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that corporations are people, but women... well, not so much. In their decision, the five male, Christian, conservative justices ruled that discrimination against women is not discrimination at all, it's just religious freedom. Employers who work in "closely held" companies can now refuse to cover contraceptives if they personally object to it on religious grounds. In plain English, this means that if your boss believes birth control is murder, he gets to yank it out of your insurance plan. But don't worry, dudes, this doesn't apply to Viagra, vasectomies and penis pumps, just to the mysterious baby-killing whore pills.
Although the majority called the ruling "narrow," there is really nothing limited about it. In fact, 9 out of 10 businesses in this country are "closely held" companies, employing roughly half the U.S. workforce. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her dissent, in the context of America's corporations, "small" is not synonymous with "closely held." Companies like Wal-Mart, Heinz and Koch Industries all are included in this definition.
Given that a majority of Americans believe that all companies should cover birth control for female employees, reactions to the ruling were heated. Thankfully, we live in a free market society where people can vote with their wallet, and reproductive justice activists are already calling for a boycott of the corporation.
Others, however, took matters in their own hands, literally. Enter Adam Nathaniel Peck, a deputy digital editor at the Center for American Progress's ThinkProgress, who went into a Hobby Lobby store yesterday and used the company's products to send a very powerful message.
Image Credit: Facebook
Peck told Mic that he snapped the photo at the Laurel, Md., Hobby Lobby on Tuesday around 12:30pm. He drove up to speak with customers and employees about this week's Supreme Court decision with his ThinkProgress colleague Jess Goldstein, but he says that before they did, they took "a quick lap of the store to check out the kinds of things they were selling."
When asked why he did it, he said the "the whole thing was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision."
"We had been taking photos of some of the more interesting crafts on the shelves around the store, and I saw those stamps sitting there. It just seemed like a perfect opportunity to stage a kind of a silent protest, and the chance to use Hobby Lobby's own products to do it was just too serendipitous to pass up," Peck told Mic. "I certainly don't want to encourage other people to ransack their local Hobby Lobby, but who am I to tell other people what to do with things like stamps, stencils, lawn signs, window decals and other items that can be used to spell things out in the aisles?"
Peck's actions are just one man right now, but wouldn't it be cathartic if, in stores across the country, customers of all genders who care about equal access to contraceptives sent similar messages? Let's make this a thing.