March 24, 2019
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Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch focus of Bangor Hobby Lobby protest

Dawn Gagnon | BDN
Dawn Gagnon | BDN
About 40 protesters rallied against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, at Hobby Lobby on Stillwater Avenue on Saturday afternoon.

BANGOR, Maine — At least 40 people took to the sidewalk in front of Hobby Lobby on Saturday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s nomination of Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During his tenure on the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch was among a majority of five judges who ruled that business owners — including Hobby Lobby, which brought the issue to court — can object on religious grounds to a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, requiring them to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

That position was affirmed the following year in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling. The decision prompted a similar protest in front of the Bangor store in July of 2014.

Women and men opposed to Gorsuch’s nomination stood on the sidewalk in front of the Stillwater Avenue arts-and-crafts store as part of a demonstration organized by the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center.

The center’s director, Andrea Irwin, said she began mobilizing opposition to the Supreme Court nomination as soon as the announcement was made.

“I knew how important it would be to get people to understand the importance of this nomination and also the impact it had on women’s health,” she said as she stood on the sidewalk holding a neon green protest sign.

As Irwin sees it, the conservative judge could lead to the loss of rights women gained under Roe v. Wade and other court decisions.

“It’s all about separation of church and state. We have the [U.S] Constitution to protect us from others imposing their beliefs on us,” she said. “This is about women’s health.”

The protesters came from as far away as Deer Isle. Some wore the pink pussy hats made famous last month’s Women’s March on Washington. There also were several high school students and a representative of the radical activist group known as Anonymous.

They held signs that read: “No Gorsuch,” “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and “Why am I fighting the same fight my grandmother fought?” to name a few.

Hampden Academy student Leo Bell said Gorsuch “thinks faith, religion and Christianity needs to be in everybody’s life. They think ‘Because we’re Christian, you don’t have a right to an abortion because we don’t believe in it.’ I believe that everyone should have their own beliefs.”

Ruth Lamdan brought a carload of women from Deer Isle to the protest.

“I think people are beginning to get a little complacent and I think it’s important for us to show our solidarity,” she said.

Hobby Lobby Stores Ltd. is owned and operated by evangelical Christians David and Barbara Green and their children. The company has around 32,000 employees and operates more than 700 stores in 47 states.

Efforts to reach Hobby Lobby’s media contact for comment on Saturday afternoon were not successful.



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