I'm Johnny-come-lately, as so often, on the latest stories, but in case you haven't heard: A federal court has enjoined the application of the HHS mandate to a private business owned by individuals who object on grounds of conscience.
In all the quite legitimate concern for religious organizations and for the Obama administration's invidious attempts to redefine religious liberty, privately owned businesses have to some extent been overlooked. They are not even putatively, under any interpretation, protected from the Obamacare mandate, and unfortunately I don't see anyone holding rallies or letter-writing campaigns for them.
I admit to being pleasantly surprised by this ruling and to having my fingers crossed that it survives appeal. My impression has been that often private businessmen who are not running a self-described "religious" organization have little protection for their consciences. I certainly don't expect them to be protected from laws that require them to recognize civil unions, to give spousal benefits to homosexual partners, and the like. Perhaps my pessimism there is a result of the extreme deference our court systems pay to the god of "nondiscrimination."
In any event, the court ruled that for the time being, while the lawsuit is pending, the law cannot be enforced against the private company. That isn't a ruling on the merits of the case, but it does show (if I'm understanding correctly) that this particular court did not think the case was without merit so that there was no point in moving forward.
It also showed that the court considered that the owners of the business could claim harm to themselves by the enforcement of the law, despite the fact that the business is incorporated. This is a legally rather important point, all the more so since the Obama administration argued, ominously, that the company could not possibly be covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it is for-profit and incorporated.
This raises the interesting question, which Wesley J. Smith discusses a bit here, as to whether once people incorporate the resultant entity can be said to have religious liberty interests. Smith hypothesizes that the size of the corporation, in terms of whether the stock is widely held or closely held, may be relevant. Evidently the court raised but did not draw a conclusion about that question in its injunction, concluding instead that the individuals themselves could suffer harm if the law were enforced against them. Still, that seems to me (as an amateur) to be legally relevant, because it would seem to mean that once you start a corporation you do not cease to exist as individuals for the business purposes that corporation carries out. Hence, your individual religious rights could be infringed by governmental actions against the business you have incorporated. Verry interesting, and I hope it holds up.