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. 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.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Aug 10, 2009 12:27:49 PM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 12:29:06 PM

  3. 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!

    Posted by: Ron Leach | Aug 10, 2009 12:30:34 PM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: Joren | Aug 10, 2009 12:30:35 PM

  5. 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

    Posted by: Mike Airhart, TWO | Aug 10, 2009 12:33:25 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Mike Airhart, TWO | Aug 10, 2009 12:45:36 PM

  7. Or, NOM may be lying entirely about its sponsors.

    So I agree with Robert Rhea that politeness and diplomacy are critical when contacting these companies.

    Posted by: Mike Airhart, TWO | Aug 10, 2009 12:48:13 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 12:54:06 PM

  9. 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.

    Posted by: David | Aug 10, 2009 1:03:07 PM

  10. 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.

    Posted by: Clarknt67 | Aug 10, 2009 1:04:06 PM

  11. 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

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

    Posted by: Allan | Aug 10, 2009 1:27:14 PM

  12. 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...

    Posted by: Roger Ramjet | Aug 10, 2009 1:38:54 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: David Raetsen | Aug 10, 2009 1:59:39 PM

  14. Here is the link to Tim Horton's statement -

    Good work folks!

    Posted by: Chris B | Aug 10, 2009 2:07:32 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Aug 10, 2009 2:10:09 PM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: Mike Airhart, TWO | Aug 10, 2009 2:14:40 PM


    They pulled it

    Posted by: Danielle M | Aug 10, 2009 2:16:36 PM

  18. joemygod just reported that the chain pulled out of the NOM event.

    Posted by: Jeff NYC | Aug 10, 2009 2:25:07 PM

  19. guys, tim hortons has issued a public statement. penny for your thoughts? read below:

    Posted by: canadian_dounut_lover | Aug 10, 2009 2:34:28 PM

  20. 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


    Castle Shore Communications
    Larry Marchese, 617-733-8899

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 2:39:13 PM

  21. 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.

    Posted by: john | Aug 10, 2009 2:43:46 PM

  22. This update from the Providence Daily Dose:


    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

    Posted by: Jeremy | Aug 10, 2009 3:02:18 PM

  23. 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.”

    Posted by: Blount Fine Foods | Aug 10, 2009 4:52:18 PM

  24. 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:


    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.{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/poster.jpg{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/trifoldInside.jpg{68e2d769-444e-4146-bb45-b419ecdc260a}/trifoldOutside.jpg{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.

    Robert Rhea

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Aug 10, 2009 5:26:38 PM

  25. GREAT NEWS! Truth wins out is reporting Blount is out too!

    Posted by: Clarknt67 | Aug 11, 2009 1:13:57 AM

  26. « 1 2

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