CHARLESTON – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney is calling for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state Attorney General Darrell McGraw to join a lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraception rule.
"West Virginia needs leadership that will do more than just give us rhetoric and will actually fight back against the Obama administration," Maloney said in a press release. "Religious freedom is a fundamental right in this country, and our state leaders need to be fighting for it."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Tomblin's re-election campaign said the governor disagrees with the Obama administration's policy.
The attorneys general from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas filed a suit last month against Obama's Department of Health and Human Services regulation that violates freedom of religions rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The seven states asked a federal judge in Nebraska to block the Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated hospitals, schools and outreach programs. The lawsuit alleges that the new rule violates the First Amendment rights of groups that object to the use of contraceptives.
The rule, announced as part of the federal health care law, has come under fire from religious groups that object to the use of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. In response, Obama administration officials have said they will shift the requirement from the employers to health insurers themselves.
The proposed Obama rule would require all employers, including religious institutions, to pay for contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.
"Whether it is Obamacare, anti-coal stances by the EPA, or this attack on religious liberty, the Obama administration is out of control and works actively against the best interests of the state of West Virginia," Maloney said. "We need real leadership in West Virginia that will fight back against Obama, not vote for him.
"Earl Ray Tomblin should end his silence and immediately join the seven other states that have sued the Obama administration's ruling that violates religious freedom."
Chris Stadelman, a spokesman for Tomblin's campaign, said Tomblin is "100 percent pro-life" and noted that Tomblin's endorsement from West Virginians for Life.
"He disagrees with the Obama administration's policy and supported Sen. (Joe) Manchin's vote on the Blunt amendment," Stadelman said. "Tomblin has proven he will fight the Obama administration's policies and the overreaching EPA."
Manchin, D-W.Va., voted for an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would allow insurance companies and employers of certain religious institutions to opt out of Obama's law.
A call to McGraw's office was not returned.