According to the 5-4 ruling
, which was deeply divided along ideological lines, involved Hobby Lobby
and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Both organizations express the desire to abide by biblical principles while competing in a secular marketplace.
The ruling says that closely held for-profit companies (those where five or fewer people hold more than 50 percent of the stock) are exempt from parts of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. The act mandates that companies have to pay for certain types of contraception.
The two companies that launched the lawsuit said that having to pay for "morning-after pills" (which the companies see as supporting abortion) violated their First Amendment rights.
All five conservative, Republican-appointed voted in favour of the companies, while the liberal judges voted against them.
"The companies in the cases before us are closely held corporations, each owned and controlled by members of a single family, and no one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs," wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the majority opinion.
The dissenting judges said that this case could set a dangerous precedent for eroding compliance with laws based on religious beliefs.
"In a decision of startling breadth, the court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law ... they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote in the dissenting opinion.