In a health care decision giving hope to opponents of the federal  birth-control coverage mandate, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that  Hobby Lobby stores won’t have to start paying millions of dollars in fines next  week for not complying with the requirement.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided the Oklahoma City-based  arts and crafts chain can proceed with its case and won’t be subject to fines in  the meantime.

The reprieve gives Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. more time to argue in a lower court  that for-profit businesses — not just currently exempted religious groups —  should be allowed to seek an exception if the law violates their religious  beliefs.

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