Monday, August 10, 2009

Coffee Chain Tim Hortons Drops Sponsorship for NOM Event After Outrage from LGBT

UPDATE: NOM responds to Tim Horton's dropping sponsorship.

OK, I've been pretty busy reporting on this past weekend's Next Steps Working Meeting, so this story sparked and spread quickly and became resolved before I had time to write on it. But it's a good story with a happy ending, so here it goes.

Coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, which boasts being the largest food service chain in Canada and with stores in the U.S. Northeast, came under fire from the LGBT population when it offered its sponsorship to the uber anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) 'Rhode Island’s First Annual Celebrate Marriage & Family Day.'

This news spread quickly across the LGBT blogosphere today with posts on Towleroad,, Pam's House Blend and more.

Tim Horton's didn't take long to respond. Today, they posted this response on 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.
Let this be encouragement to us nationwide that when we speak up as a whole, things can and will change. Unite the Fight experienced this recently when I discovered the content filter system, OpenDNS, that Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf used for its wi-fi, blocked certain LGBT sites, citing them as "adult." In no time flat, the news spread and the Advocate picked up the story. Within 48 hours, the sites were unblocked with an official apology from all parties.

Sometimes we feel discouraged, facing constant discrimination not only from our government but also from friends, neighbors and family. But if we speak up, we can make a difference.

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