Iowa hospital ends contract with coffee shop over marriage, sexuality beliefs

Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, has ended its contract with a religiously affiliated coffee shop, saying the hospital's values are not aligned with some of the business's beliefs on marriage and sexuality, the Des Moines Register reported Sept. 20.

The contract began in May when Freedom Blend Coffee opened a shop on the first floor of the Broadlawns Medical Center inpatient wing, according to the report. The shop closed Sept. 14.

According to the Des Moines Register, statements by the organization that operates the coffee shop — on marriage and sexuality as well as abortion — factored into the decision, as did Broadlawns' status as a publicly funded hospital, which means it must abide by certain nondiscrimination laws.  

"Broadlawns chooses to partner with organizations that are inclusive and accepting of everyone's differences. We want our patients, staff and visitors to feel welcome to be their whole selves — emotionally and psychologically," Renee Hardman, the hospital's chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, said in a statement shared with Becker's.

Freedom For Youth Ministries, a Christian organization, founded Freedom Blend Coffee about a decade ago as a business that "empowers high-school youth and young adults through Christ-centered employment training," according to its website. A statement of faith on the website highlights Freedom for Youth's core beliefs. Among them: "that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union"; "rejection of one's biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person"; and "all human life is sacred and created by God in His image."

Freedom For Youth declined to comment to the Des Moines Register

To read the full report, click here.

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