Gay Marriage | News | Rhode Island

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.

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  1. """well, how would you characterize a group like NOM?"""

    A Political Group

    A Religious Group

    A Hate Group

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 10, 2009 8:49:35 AM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: Carl | Aug 10, 2009 9:05:12 AM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: Derek | Aug 10, 2009 9:06:33 AM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: George K. | Aug 10, 2009 9:32:18 AM

  5. As a Canadian, I'm hideously mortified by this. I mean, Timmies donuts are bad enough, but this is beyond the pale.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Aug 10, 2009 9:33:42 AM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Aiden Raccoon | Aug 10, 2009 9:46:19 AM

  7. Cool, someone else to boycott. Helloooo Dunkin' Donuts.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Aug 10, 2009 9:54:32 AM

  8. I did my part and sent them such a message...having been a consumer of Tim's for over ten years now. Very disappointed in Tim.

    Posted by: mak136 | Aug 10, 2009 9:57:14 AM

  9. Many thanks to Andy Towle for drawing attention to this. 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

    Posted by: Mike Airhart | Aug 10, 2009 10:03:02 AM

  10. 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.

    Posted by: FairPlay | Aug 10, 2009 10:05:06 AM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: excy | Aug 10, 2009 10:06:49 AM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: @Daniel_Baylis | Aug 10, 2009 10:10:30 AM

  13. @AIDEN
    Thanks for the pointer. Just sent them a nastygram.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Aug 10, 2009 10:23:42 AM

  14. Took me only 2 minutes to use their online form - I urge you all give your 2 cents too!

    Posted by: WPM | Aug 10, 2009 10:35:07 AM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 10, 2009 11:10:45 AM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 10, 2009 11:25:07 AM

  17. I just send my note along. I'll post the response--if I get one--here...

    Posted by: Adam | Aug 10, 2009 11:27:33 AM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Sky | Aug 10, 2009 11:34:44 AM

  19. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 11:38:54 AM


    Do we have a list of all of the sponsors? I will be contacting Blount Fine Foods as well as Panera.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 11:52:35 AM

  21. 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.

    Posted by: john | Aug 10, 2009 11:53:02 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 12:00:57 PM

  23. 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!

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 10, 2009 12:05:02 PM

  24. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 12:18:47 PM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: Matt | Aug 10, 2009 12:23:43 PM

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