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Protest Planned After Canadian Tim Hortons Kicks Out Lesbian Couple

Dozens are reportedly planning to protest an incident that took place three weeks ago at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Blenheim, Ontario in whcih a lesbian couple was ejected from the restaurant for what they say was an innocent display of affection.

HortonsRiley Duckworth, 25, of London, and her partner Patricia Pattenden, 23 are not accepting an apology from the restaurant chain, the Globe & Mail reports.

Ms. Duckworth says she and her partner were outside drinking coffee with a group of family and friends and saw a man watching them from inside the restaurant.  She says soon after, the man went up to the counter, and a few minutes later the assistant manager came out and asked the couple to stop doing what they were doing and leave.

Ms. Duckworth says her partner had her hand around her waist, and had kissed her on the cheek once or twice but she denies they were groping each other.

“The manager said that our behaviour was inappropriate and that it was a family friendly establishment and it wasn't acceptable there,” Ms. Duckworth said. “We would need to leave within five minutes or the cops would be called,” she said they were told.

TimhortonsDuckworth and Pattenden say that as they departed this happened:

As the couple left, the pastor at a local church allegedly held a prayer circle with more than a dozen people in the parking lot to “pray for the couple's souls,” Ms. Duckworth said.

Tim Hortons released a statement earlier this week:

"The guests' behaviour went beyond public displays of affection and was making other guests feel uncomfortable. The management has apologized to Riley and Patricia and invite them back to their restaurant. We apologize if (they) were offended by the misunderstanding that occurred at our Blenheim restaurant last month on behalf of the owners and management. It was not the manager's intention to offend or target anyone based on their sexual orientation."

The planned protest has a Facebook page with almost 1,000 'Likes'.

It also has a dedicated page on the Kijiji website describing the incident.

Tim Hortons has been in trouble with gay activists in the past in the U.S. for its sponsorship of a National Organization for Marriage event opposing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. The chain pulled out of the event after activists objected.

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  1. That's not an apology. It opens by stating that the couple was wrong

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 25, 2011 8:50:46 AM

  2. I'm opposed to PDA's at my local spa. I once told the manager about a heterosexual couple who were kissing excessively in the spa. I told him I came here to get a spa, not bathe in someone else's body fluids.

    If people wish to engage in moderate PDA's, that's fine with me. But, PDA's being PDA's, it sometimes gets out of hand. I'd rather people do it in a room somewhere than out in front of others who are not invited guests.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 25, 2011 8:52:32 AM

  3. This incident is very unfortuately. I worked at a Tim Horton's from 2005-2008 that was newly opened in the US in high school in a small town in Ohio, I was openly gay, the owner loved me, was very supportive and we never had any issues, the restaurant was very gay friendly and nearly 30-40% of the staff was gay, bi, or lesbian - not all Tim Horton's share this type of discrimination so keep that in mind. This specific location, however, needs to make a change.. I do support a protest of this specific location and the assistant manager should be disciplined.

    Posted by: J | Oct 25, 2011 8:53:55 AM

  4. Does the restaurant enforce the same standard against heterosexual couples? That's the fundamental question.

    As for Tim Horton's the corporation: this is two strikes. Time to clean up your act.

    Posted by: Chris in MN | Oct 25, 2011 9:00:49 AM

  5. It's homophobia. The restaurant organization showed it's true colors before and went out of their way quite publicly to try to clean up their image. But a leopard can't change it's spots. Time for a boycott and to show these religious fundies just where their bigotry gets them.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 25, 2011 9:09:25 AM

  6. I am Canadian, and what many Canadians and Americans do not understand is that being "uncomfortable" does not make you RIGHT.

    Interracial couples made a lot of people uncomfortable too. So did men with tattoos, or women with bare midriffs. One does not have a "right" to not be offended!

    In this particular case, as CHRIS IN MN above says, the only litmus test is whether they have also always kicked out straight couples for kissing. I'm guessing no.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Oct 25, 2011 9:13:31 AM

  7. Strepsi,

    I agree with you about the "uncomfortable" excuse. It basically cedes to bigots.

    However, I will say that excessive PDA's are not appropriate in any circumstance. This applies to hetero's too.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 25, 2011 9:22:38 AM

  8. Apparently the person who complained was a Pentecostal minister, i.e. a crazy person. That tells you all you need to know about this.

    They said all they died was embrace and have one or two kisses on the cheek. That's not excessive or inappropriate. Stop being such annoying prudes

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 25, 2011 9:34:19 AM

  9. "It was not the manager's intention to offend or target anyone based on their sexual orientation."

    That's exactly what they did, and that quote makes it clear that they have received legal advice, b/c if the laws are like CA's, they're fukked.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Oct 25, 2011 9:42:02 AM

  10. Interesting comments. They were pretty much the same in our local paper, The Toronto Star. Most comments were from straights though who said "I don't have a problem with gay people" but went on to say that they didn't like "excessive" PDA. Surprised to hear (what I assume to be) my fellow brothers and sisters say the same here. Whether or not you like PDA is neither here nor there. What was reported in many publications is that the two women were standing outside of the coffee shop with friends and family, arms around one another. A peck or two on the cheek. Nothing more. Were it just the two of them I could imagine it might have been more demonstrative but with mom there? I doubt it.

    I'm more offended by the prayer circle. Imagine if a group of Wiccans did a ritual circle next to the Christians, praying that they finally SEE THE LIGHT! I don't care what it says in your little black book (a.k.a. Bible) about my "chosen lifestyle" to be honest. It says a LOT of things that you choose to ignore. Why is it acceptable to discriminate against gay people when, according a very lengthy and all-encompassing list in the Bible, we're all abominations in one form or another?

    In Canada, much to the chagrin of some it seems, The Gays have been allowed to legally wed since 2005. There are no laws that say we're not allowed to hold hands or - Heaven forbid - place a loving peck on the cheek of our lover of choice. It's time to stop making excuses for this type of behaviour and call it what it is: BIGOTRY.

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 25, 2011 9:50:19 AM

  11. Here's a good comment from The Toronto Star.
    A self-identified non-bigot I presume.

    "G.A.Y." originally meant "Good As You"

    If a hetero couple had been making out, if hetero breasts were being fondled in public, if hetero hand had been shoved down hetero pants ... THEY would have been asked to leave, also. Congrats to the lesbian couple - they got kicked out the same way a hetero couple would have been! You're "as good as them"! Your parents must be so proud of you, getting kicked out of family establishments ...

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 25, 2011 9:59:26 AM

  12. I'm against excessive PDAs too but I agree with whomever said that with their mom there this is highly unlikely.

    Who gropes anyone in front of mom?

    Posted by: Rin | Oct 25, 2011 10:24:59 AM

  13. It's always good to be reminded that Canada has as many loonies( not the coins) as the USA, and that their behavior is consistent with that of their southern brethren.

    I have a tee shirt with a picture of two guys pointing to a het couple and saying " I don't mind straight people so long as they act gay in public." I've had puzzled looks and incomprehension and one or 2 requests for explanation when I've worn that. Our Str8 fellow citizens are so immersed in their own special closet that they simply don't understand such things.

    Posted by: gregory brown | Oct 25, 2011 10:28:10 AM

  14. Nothing speaks louder than the dollar (in the U.S., anyway). I won't go back there.

    Posted by: Tophu628 | Oct 25, 2011 11:30:32 AM

  15. I don't think its the restaurants fault at all. Its the pervert that was watching them's fault. I work at a gas station and have dealt with people pretty much making up what others are doing. If the Manager hadn't done what he did he would have had every church in that town doing the same thing so its a lose-lose situation for the company (The Tim Hortons in my town has a few gays to my knowledge, and has yet to have a single problem, even with the older generations taking over the store for a few hours a day everyday)

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 25, 2011 12:43:59 PM

  16. If the pastor was offended, then he could have very easily turned his head and not watch. It wasn't like they were being made to watch.

    And as a former manager of many restaurants, I would have observed myself before taking the word of a customer. Then if I felt it was out of place I would have asked them not to continue doing it, but would have NEVER asked them to leave. That was above and beyond what he should have done.

    Posted by: macmantoo | Oct 25, 2011 12:59:59 PM

  17. if they were a straight couple this NEVER would have happened unless they'd been actually having intercourse in public. also it's worth noting: Tim Horton's is owned by Wendy's. just FYI. It was bought way back in 95. In for a penny, in for a pound.

    Posted by: wtf | Oct 25, 2011 1:39:38 PM

  18. The Bible has some good advice for that preacher, "If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out."

    Posted by: Kevin | Oct 25, 2011 5:30:24 PM

  19. I wonder if Tim Hortons is going to stop all the Teenagers that do this kind of behavior. I have lost count how many times I have seen teeangers jam their tonques down the other's throat while waiting in line. I just roll my eyes and look away. To me, that is more offensive as I have stand their and be less than a foot from it in order to wait be served. Crazy times.

    Posted by: Michael | Oct 26, 2011 9:14:12 AM

  20. Gay people. Always in your face. Thats how I see it.

    Posted by: B | Oct 26, 2011 2:45:03 PM

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