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Denver’s attempt to throw Hercules under ObamaCare bus backfires

Honors yanked because family business won order against Obama administration, Colorado House steps in with own commendation
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DENVER — The city and county of Denver proposed and drafted a proclamation honoring the 50th anniversary of Hercules Industries, the family business that sued the Obama administration over its abortion pill mandate, but rescinded the honor after the company won a court order in its lawsuit, which attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom are litigating.

The proclamation would have honored the company for “its generous employee health care coverage,” restoration of an historic building, and numerous community contributions. In response to Denver’s decision, Colorado Speaker of the House Frank McNulty will issue a commendation Thursday that pays tribute to Hercules on behalf of the state’s House of Representatives.

“It’s sad when the very values that drive a family to serve others are used to try to disgrace them,” said Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The city council saw this family’s contributions, but then said ‘no honors for you’ because Hercules’ leaders took a principled stand for freedom of religion and conscience. That stand makes the Newlands more worthy of respect, not less so. We thank Speaker McNulty for standing up where Denver would not in recognizing the numerous contributions that Hercules Industries has made to its employees and community.”

The most recent draft of Denver’s cancelled proclamation refers to Hercules Industries as “a responsible and respectful employer of a diverse workforce” and notes that “the company’s care of its employees is evidenced by its generous employee health care coverage and apprenticeship program.”

The proclamation stated that “Hercules Industries was a recipient of the 2012 MLK Business Social Responsibility Award in recognition of its employee-driven Metal of Honor Fund for assisting a variety of worthy causes, currently raising donations for the victims and fighters of the recent wildfires.”

The proclamation also commended the company for preserving an 1890 cotton mill in which its manufacturing operations are housed. The mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city rescinded its proclamation before the planned issue date of Aug. 13. The Colorado House commendation that McNulty will provide to the Newland family Thursday honors them and their company for the contributions that Denver backed out of recognizing.

“The Colorado House of Representatives is pleased to honor the Newland family for their continued commitment to their employees, community and historic preservation,” the commendation states. “We congratulate Hercules Industries for 50 years of exemplary business practices and wish them continued success.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-min)

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Matt Bowman
Matt Bowman
Senior Counsel, Director of Regulatory Practice
Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel and director of regulatory practice at Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family.