Hobby Lobby Attorney Starts Missouri Advocacy Group

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COLUMBIA - An attorney representing Hobby Lobby's challenge of a federal mandate, launched a Missouri advocacy group Thursday. 

The group, the Missouri Liberty Project, plans to focus on raising awareness of religious liberties and constitutional rights issues.

"The goal of the organization is to promote constitutional first principals and rule of law values," University of Missouri Law Professor Joshua Hawley said. "I started the group, because as I've worked on the Hobby Lobby case and other constitutional litigations, I've talked to people around the state, and I feel that there's a need for an organization that focuses on these principals."

Hawley is a part of a legal team trying to overturn a federal heath care mandate requiring employers to supply health coverage that includes birth control to employees. 

Hobby Lobby's CEO said the company is challenging the mandate because it would violate his religious rights and beliefs to have to pay for contraceptive coverage for all of his employees.

Hawley said Hobby Lobby is not against all contraceptives. Hobby Lobby supports 16 of the 20 contraceptives that are legally available under the health care law, not just four that may induce an abortion. 

Hobby Lobby's case against the federal government will be argued Tuesday, March 25.