Tim Hortons Coffee/Doughnut Chain Opposes Marriage Equality

UPDATE: see below.

Tim Hortons, the coffee and doughnut chain which is the largest food service operator in Canada (exceeding McDonald's) and has outlets in the northeast U.S., is under fire for its sponsorship of 'Rhode Island’s First Annual Celebrate Marriage & Family Day' being produced by the National Organization for Marriage.

Timhortons NOM's site on the event reads: "The highlight of the Sunday afternoon event will be an opportunity for married couples to renew their vows together at a beautiful waterfront setting.

This is a great opportunity to take a stand for marriage as it was created: between a man and a woman. Our goal is to esteem marriage to its proper place in society and make a statement that Rhode Islanders believe strongly in this cherished institution."

Providence Daily Dose is steaming: "What in the world are they doing sponsoring something like this? Their site says that they support 'local initiatives that make a difference' — such as little leagues, Halloween safety, and the like. And that they sponsor community initiatives with a focus on 'helping children and supporting fundraising events for non-profit organizations and registered charities.' But not 'those representing religious groups [or] political affiliates,' such as.. well, how would you characterize a group like NOM?"

PDD says Tim Horton's has 36 Rhode Island locations, and a  customer service website.

UPDATE: Tim Hortons has pulled out of the event.

Comments

  1. Carl says

    I live in Michigan and Ontario, I pass by several Tim Hortons daily and was just there on Friday. I will not go back ever until they explain and stop this.

    I will say I have seen them in the past sponsoring the gay pride in Montreal I believe.

  2. Derek says

    Tom Hortons is like a plague here in Canada, it’s on ever corner, and people worship it. I barely go there as it is, and now I’ll stop completely.

  3. George K. says

    Don’t just stop going: Contact them and tell you them you’ve stopped going, and explain why. Stints of picketing, esp. in RI, wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

  4. says

    Come on everybody, just click the link and at least contact them via email. At least just send a quick message to them stating why you are dissatisfied with what they are doing. It took me less than 5 minutes of internet surf time to do and I felt really good about doing it. If they pull out of the event, it is because of us getting the word out about it and flooding them with nationwide complaints.

  5. says

    Many thanks to Andy Towle for drawing attention to this.

    gayrights.change.org has a petition to contact Tim Hortons management.

    You should know that Tim Hortons is not the only sponsor of NOM: So is Blount Fine Foods, a major supplier to Legal Sea Foods and Panera Bread.

    Mike Airhart
    Truth Wins Out

  6. FairPlay says

    I haven’t noticed any of the far right blogs calling for Tim Horton’s to “stay out of the culture wars” – you know, thier usual whine when Pepsi, Disney, Ford, etc. is found to have been financially supportive of equality.

  7. excy says

    BOYCOTT Tim Hortons. This is totally unacceptable. I sure wouldn’t want to be working at the Timmies coffee shop in the gay village of Montreal when this news spreads.
    I was of the impression that Tim Hortons Canada was a good corporate citizen. Lots of GLBT folk patronize these shops up here.
    I hope that the outlets in the USA check with the corporate head office in Canada before making these stupid and hateful decisions. Maybe they did.
    In any case….boycott all Timmies until this is resolved and the company makes a major contribution to an organization that equality, inclusion and human rights for all.

  8. says

    Wow. As a Canadian, I’m disappointed.

    My first reaction is that there must be some sort of misunderstanding. But then again, they have been less than “socialist” in the past, so perhaps I should be less surprised.

  9. Stephen says

    When you contact Tim Hortons, you may want to let them know that one of NOM’s board members advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government in order to achieve the group’s political goals. Google ‘Orson Scott Card overthrow government’ to find the details. I attached a PDF of the PFAW’s press release on the issue to my “Contact Us” submission at the Hortons Web site.

  10. Dave says

    It *must* have been an error. Probably someone from NOM sent out a sugar-coated description of the event and someone from Tim’s failed to properly look into it before cutting a cheque.

    Feedback to Tim’s will make a difference. Please be polite but forceful.

  11. Sky says

    I knew the original owner of Tim Hortons Ron, and he was very respectful of my orientation. This was around the Marriage Debates here in Canada, he was very clear he didn’t oppose it, but he also felt that it wasn’t in the best interests to support it either. However, after the fact he made it very clear by supporting pride weeks across the country.
    It’s too bad he’s not still the lead. I used to tease him his name was Ronald and his major competitor’s clown shared his name.

  12. says

    I have just called Tim Hortons in Canada and spoke to the head office. They were completely unaware of this situation. When I described the situation, the lady I spoke to (by the name of Kendall) was completely shocked and taken aback. She gave me the contact number for Anne Printz, who is head of the Southeast New England Marketing office. Her number is (614) 791-4223. Please call and be polite and respectful with her.

    I tend to believe like Dave that this is probably an oversight on their part until proven otherwise. It would be completely like NOM to send out a misleading press release and make it sound like this was a fun family day in the sun and not a rally against Gay & Lesbian Americans. They may not have known exactly what NOM is all about. It is even possible that NOMs involvement is through one of their many innocuous sounding subsidiary.

    I have called Anne myself and am hoping to get a call back from her soon.

  13. john says

    I spoke with someone at corporate affairs at Tim Hortons at 10.30am this morning, and she said they were aware of it, but had not yet decided on what their response was going to be or whether they were going to pull out of the event. We need to keep the pressure on them to take responsibility and to withdraw from the event, as well as affirm their support for marriage equality. Everyone phone
    the corporate headquarters in Oakville, Ontario at 905-845-6511.

  14. says

    I just spoke with a gentleman named Dave at Blount Fine Foods. They have apparently already been contacted many times. I was told that they are NOT sponsoring the NOM Event. Dave also read a prepared statement stating that Blount does not discriminate in any way and sponsors many not-for-profit events without discrimination. In light of this current situation that policy is going to be reviewed.

    He wouldnt elaborate further.

  15. says

    I just contacted them–in writing–via their customer service page. I have to believe that the calls and messages will matter since their sponsorship of this event was either very stupid (if an oversight) or very foolish (if intentional). Supporting an extremist organization that stands in direct opposition to Canadian civil rights laws–as I wrote in my message–is not good PR for a company whose image is so synonymous with all things Canadian. If they don’t reply in a satisfactory way my b/f and I (part-time Montrealers) may have to start throwing around the Blueberry Bloom Donuts they’ve been incessantly advertising here. That blueberry glop in the center will stain!

  16. says

    I also just spoke with Kate from Panera Bread. Panera is aware of the situation with Blount Fine Foods. Panera is looking into the situation and will have a statement out later today. Kate stated that Panera does not endorse the NOM event and that Blount supplies a very small percentage of the products at Panera.

    READ: Panera wants a LOT of distance here.

    I encourage everyone – make the phone calls, send the e-mails. Bring all of the pressure to bear that you can.

  17. Matt says

    As a manager of a Tim Horton’s Store in Canada I can tell you this. Each Store is interdependently owned and operated and events such as these are sponsored by single stores (or multiple stores owned by the same person) and not by the company themselves. Do not Boycott your local Timmies based on the actions of this owner. However, if you live in the area be sure to Boycott the store in question.

  18. Strepsi says

    I just spoke to head office in Canada and was told the person to speak to in U.S. is Kate O’Shaughnessy 614-791-4212.

    Her vm is on but you can leave a polite message saying you expect a response from head office and a return of funds to Tim’s from NOM. as MATT says above, it may just be the single outlet, but we do expect them to be called out (penalized?) for breaking their company’s policy by sponsoring a political religious lobby group.

  19. says

    Matt,

    The problem is that the only thing the public see’s is Tim Hortons, Not the local franchisee. Regardless of who makes the decision, its the TIM HORTONS brand that is now linked to this Anti-GLBTQI hate group. I suggest that if you want to avoid a boycott, you as a franchisee call the head office and get the RI group in line with your corporate policy.

    We as consumers are doing what we can, we need your inside support as well.

  20. Ron Leach says

    I am a Canadian and used to proud of this Canadian Company success story. Up here, Timmy Ho’s ran a very successful campaign called Roll Up The Rim to win, giving away prizes concealed under the lip of the cup of large coffee. Not sure if they that in the states or not, but….

    I suggest we roll up their rim and shove something in! BOYCOTT!

  21. Joren says

    You know what Matt? It doesn’t really matter that each store is “interdependently” (sic) owned or not. As a franchise, you are a representative of the Corporation and subject to it’s rules, regulations and policies (as I’m sure you’re aware of if you are in fact a manager of a store)

    If thats the case, why don’t YOU contact head office and tell them to pull the plug on this insanity as it’s going to cost YOUR store business.

  22. says

    The complete list of sponsors is provided by Providence Daily Dose:

    Most of the sponsors are local to southeast New England.

    Aldrich Mansion (local landmark), Blount Fine Foods of Fall River, Blish and Cavanaugh (Providence law firm), Michael David (wedding photographer based in Warwick), Northmark Solutions Group (Providence IT firm), Celldrifter (small web design firm)

    The Daily Dose has links to each sponsor’s web site.

    Mike Airhart
    Truth Wins Out

  23. says

    Please keep in mind, folks, that the list of sponsors from NOM’s official brochure and PDD may not have contributed actual cash, but rather donated goods such as coffee, doughnuts, and seafood, marketing services, web design services, IT help, legal aid, or free wedding photography.

  24. says

    Exactly Mike,

    My feeling when talking with Both Panera and Blount is that they were just contributing to a Not for Profit and that they didn’t really understand what NOM was about or the tactics that they use. Unfortunately Panera, Blount, and Tim Hortons are the only organizations where I have been able to get a direct connection.

    Please keep in mind that when we talk to the companies that we are our own BEST ambassadors and BEST tool to prove the vicious lies that NOM and it ilk would spread about us. Its OK to let an organization know how troubled you are by what they are supporting, but not to vent.

  25. David says

    I both wrote a statement on their customer service form and emailed the link to this to all my family and friends in the north east and Canada.

    Everyone is correct that franchisee or not, the brand TH is now being impacted by their name association with this event.

  26. Clarknt67 says

    I am usually loath to involve collateral damage. But as far as boycotting unaffliated Tim Hortons for what may be a rogue franchisee’s move, I disagree.

    Coming down hard on all Tim Horton’s will be the hammer that forces Tim Horton Corporate to come down hard on all franchisees (and they have that power, make sure you make them exercise it).

    It is in our movement’s best interest to make sure the corporate world–all corporations–Blount, Panera, Horton, etc. know we will not tolerate this assault on our fight for equality.

    Be civil, be polite, but let them know, the NOM name is radioactive. Let the corporate community understand there is a “Zero Tolerance” policy among the gay community for anyone in any way affiliated with their companies sponsoring these events and initiatives.

    When NOM comes calling Corporate American, they need to hear a dial tone from everyone.

  27. Allan says

    I found the guy to contact…not sure if it’s right but it’s a start. I emailed him already and told him as a Canadian who drinks Timmie’s, that this is shocking since this is not the way I would want Canada to be portrayed as their franchise expands.

    Canadian readers – do your part and email him directly and show your concern!

    David Morelli
    905.339.6277
    morelli_david@timhortons.com

    Or if you want to be more anonymous, here’s their feedback form

    http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/contactform.html

  28. Roger Ramjet says

    To MATT:

    I’m sorry but; boycotting one’s local TH franchise will go miles to helping end this mess.

    If Franchisees call headquarters to complain about being boycottted based on the actions of one single franchisee, TH will jump through hoops to make sure that one franchisee is corrected – or risk losing his franchise.

    I understand your fear and concern about your own store: your own profit margin may suffer. But that’s not what’s best of the LGBT community.

    Boycott TH everyone!

    BTW: Here is my letter to Tim Hortons (and also panera with a few adjustments). I just felt that the pre-typed message to TH was as weak as watery tea.

    “Dear Sirs:

    The difference between supporting a gay rights group and the organization NOM is critical to understand for Tim Hortons and it’s patrons.

    One group is invested in gaining basic human rights that have been deprived. Regardless of the group, that is a noble gesture. And deserving of sponsorship.

    The other group is involed in actively, and legally, pursuing the codification of eliminating those basic human rights that they themselves enjoy but wish to constitutionally deny to a whole minority.

    Considering that NOM uses fear mongering and out-right lies to promote it’s agenda, this means that T.H. is planning to sponsor a Hate-Group. There is no other way to look at it.

    Don’t fool yourselves. NOM is not ‘defending marriage’. You know exactly who these people are and what they are trying to do. Which means T.H. has purposely chosen to side with An Anti-American organization who’s aim is nothing more than retreading the road that groups like the KKK tread down fifty years ago…and lost.

    Why? Is is a corporate decision? Are you being forced into your position based on threats of boycott from NOM’s sister group, the AFA?

    The ultimate question is this: History has proven that corporate sponsorship of hate-groups that succeed eventually evolves into corporate sponsorship of the genocide that arises thereafter.

    Are you willing to take your place proudly alongside a theological group who has targeted Gays and Lesbians for Consititutionally-ordained rights-deprevation?

    You Sell Coffee and Doughnuts.

    Your decision to support NOM gives it a credibility and ultimately WE in the LGBTQ community must live (or die) with the hate thrown at us by the feeble minds who cannot distinguish between propaganda and the truth.

    In the future, when you look at your hands and see red, it will not be rasberry jelly, but blood. Our blood.”

    Just sayinz’all…

  29. David Raetsen says

    I just had a look at the Tim Hortons website and they are no longer sponsoring this event. Sounds like they got involved without being fully made aware of what they were supporting.

  30. SFshawn says

    Thanks for all the contact information folks. Nice activism. I’ve made my calls. Hope Hortons’ wakes up and smells the coffee and tells NOM to fuck off.

  31. says

    I think that polite phone calls to Blount Fine Foods and Legal Sea Foods may still be justified, until they issue a clear statement either withdrawing sponsorship, or stating that NOM lied when it claimed that Blount is a sponsor.

  32. says

    CORRECTION: according to Larry Marchese from Blount Foods they are reviewing the policy but are still supporting the event. This morning I was told by Blount that they were not part of the event. Keep the presseure on Bliunt Foods: Numbers:

    Blount Fine Foods
    630 Currant Road
    Fall River, MA 02720

    Phone: (774) 888-1300
    Fax: (774) 888-1399

    Web: http://www.blountfinefoods.com
    Email: info@blountfinefoods.com

    Castle Shore Communications
    Larry Marchese, 617-733-8899
    lmarchese@castleshore.com

  33. john says

    Yes, Tim Hortons did issue a bland statement but it did not mention the specific controversy, nor provide any affirmation for marriage equality. They are still listed as a sponsor on the NOM Rhode Island website. Please continue to contact Tim Hortons at 905-845-6511 and request that they demand that NOM remove their name and logo from the materials advertising the hate rally.

  34. Jeremy says

    This update from the Providence Daily Dose:

    UPDATE: TIM HORTONS PULLS SPONSORSHIP

    CBC just forwarded me this statement, also posted at their website:

    ——

    Recently, Tim Hortons was approached in Rhode Island to provide free coffee and products for a local event, as we do thousands of times a year across Canada and the United States.

    For 45 years, Tim Hortons and its store owners have practiced a philosophy of giving back to the communities in which we operate. As a company, our primary focus is on helping children and supporting fundraising events for non-profit organizations and registered charities.

    For this reason, Tim Hortons has not sponsored those representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups.

    It has come to our attention that the Rhode Island event organizer and purpose of the event fall outside of our sponsorship guidelines. As such, Tim Hortons can not provide support at the event.

    Tim Hortons and its store owners have always welcomed all families and communities to its restaurants and will continue to do so. We apologize for any misunderstanding or inconvenience this may have caused.

    David Morelli
    Director, Public Affairs

  35. says

    The following should be attributed to Blount Fine Foods of Fall River, Massachusetts.

    “Corporate philanthropy and good citizenship has been part of Blount’s mission since inception. In keeping with that, we have a long track record of donating Blount-brand chowder and other products to all non-profits in our home area that request it for events. These donations of soup are just simple gestures of goodwill and were certainly not intended to be interpreted otherwise. It’s very concerning to us that anyone would think otherwise and as a result, we will review our policy going forward.”

  36. says

    I just Received this from Larry Marchese on Behalf of Blount Fine Foods:

    The following should be attributed to Blount Fine Foods of Fall River, Massachusetts.

    “Corporate philanthropy and good citizenship has been part of Blount’s mission since inception. In keeping with that, we have a long track record of donating Blount-brand chowder and other products to a wide variety of non-profits in our home area that request it for events. These donations of soup are just simple gestures of goodwill and were certainly not intended to be interpreted otherwise. It’s very concerning to us that anyone would think otherwise and as a result, we will review our policy going forward.”

    I would still like to see them pull out like Tim Hortons did: Here is my Reply to Larry:

    Larry,

    Thank you. Also keep in mind that the Blount Logo is being listed prominently as a sponsor on NOM-RI marketing material. The implication is plain that Blount is a supporter of NOM’s campaign against LGBTQ rights. If you read Towleroad you will see that I have tried to forward the message that you gave me verbally, even while encouraging the community to keep the pressure on you to offer no participation at all in the NOM event. I do not know whether NOM told you how your generosity was being used, but given the MILLIONS of dollars that this organization gets from the Mormon church and from organizations like the AFA and other organizations of that ilk, it seems that they could buy their own soup. Especially when they are selling it for $10 a plate to support their campaigns.

    I find it entirely believable that Blount Fine Foods generosity is being abused here. I hope that is the case. I have attached the links we discussed to the Tim Horton press release. I am also including a Link to the NOM-RI advertisement.

    http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/about/2823.html
    http://www.nomri.org/atf/cf/{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/poster.jpg
    http://www.nomri.org/atf/cf/{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/trifoldInside.jpg
    http://www.nomri.org/atf/cf/{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/trifoldOutside.jpg
    http://www.nomri.org/atf/cf/{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/Marriage%20Day%20Flyer.jpg

    Also, here is a link to the Californians Against Hate site that details a lot of the issue with the funding for NOM and their complete disregard for their obligations under the law to disclose their funding.

    http://californiansagainsthate.blogspot.com/2009/05/nom-fails-to-release-federal-financial.html

    Sincerely,
    Robert Rhea

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