Published: Mar 14, 2013 6:44 PM EDT

DETROIT (AP) - A judge on Thursday blocked the federal government from requiring the founder of Domino's Pizza to provide mandatory contraception coverage to his employees under the health care law.
    
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the contraception provision of the law against Tom Monaghan and Domino's Farms Corp., a management company located near Ann Arbor, Mich.
    
The company, which is not connected to Domino's Pizza, has 45 fulltime and 44 part-time employees, according to its court filing. Monaghan sold his controlling stake in Domino's Pizza in 1998 to private equity company Bain Capital and sold his remaining Domino's stock in 2004, according to Domino's Pizza spokesman Chris Brandon.
    
Monaghan is a Roman Catholic and said in his suit that he considers contraception a "gravely immoral" practice. He offers health insurance that excludes contraception and abortion for employees.
    
The new federal law requires employers to offer insurance including contraception coverage or risk fines.
    
In its response in December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied the health care law had a substantial effect on Monaghan's exercise of his rights to religious freedom or freedom of speech.

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