SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CN) - An Iowa federal court stayed all proceedings on a contraceptive case involving two Christian colleges while it awaits a ruling from the 8th Circuit.
"If this litigation continued at the district court level, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and I would be considering the same issues contested by the same parties," U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett wrote in granting a stay in Dordt College et al v. Sebelius et al.
In October 2013, Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan filed for a permanent injunction prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from applying the federal mandate requiring health insurance plans to cover all forms of contraception.
The colleges objected to including contraception in their healthcare plans on religious grounds.
Bennett approved a preliminary injunction in May to delay the federal government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act's mandate, which allowed the schools to offer health insurance without violating their religious convictions while the case was pending.
It also triggered the U.S. government defendants' appeal to the 8th Circuit.
Bennett asked the parties to notify him within 15 days of the 8th Circuit's ruling, "indicating if, and how, further proceedings should be scheduled in this court."
The 8th Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in December.
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