August 10, 2009

Urge Tim Hortons to Stop Supporting Anti-LGBT Group


Oh, don't you hate it when doughnuts decide to go homophobic? The Canadian mega-giant Tim Hortons (which in Canada is the largest coffee chain in the country), has decided to co-sponsor a rally in Rhode Island next week hosted by the National Organization for Marriage. Yup, the same National Organization for Marriage that is currently leading campaigns to take away the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Maine to marry, and the same group fighting marriage equality in places like Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Is this really the type of politics that Tim Hortons wants to support?

Michael Airhart at Truth Wins Out and the Providence Daily Dose were the first ones to point out that, indeed, Tim Hortons is not only sponsoring the anti-gay marriage event, but they've also allowed their logo to be plastered on the brochure for it. To be clear, this is an event hosted by an organization that has said gays and lesbians are a threat to children, and a group that openly promotes discrimination toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

Here's what the Providence Daily Dose wrote about Tim Hortons sponsoring this event. Take note, Tim Hortons says on their Web site that they don't support those representing religious organizations. Yet, despite that pledge, the restaurant chain is sponsoring the NOM event where a worship concert will take place, and supporting an organization that has consistently partnered with anti-LGBT religious groups.

What in the world [is Tim Hortons] 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 characterise a group like NOM?

Disturbing, right? Well, here's where you can take action, and tell Tim Hortons to get out of the business of sponsoring anti-LGBT organizations. We've got a petition right here at that goes to the company's President & CEO, as well as to their Director of Public Affairs. Please consider signing this, and forwarding it to your friends.

As Truth Wins Out notes, one reason that this sponsorship may have gone through is that Tim Hortons allows its franchise owners to decide on donations and sponsorships. But that reason just isn't good enough when the restaurant's name gets attached to one of the most anti-LGBT groups in the United States. Remember when a Subway franchisee decided to give money to take away the rights of gays and lesbians? Activists fought the hell back, and not only got the donation to the anti-LGBT groupr rescinded, but also got Subway to change their corporate policies to incorporate equal rights for LGBT people.

Now that's the power of activism. And as far as Tim Hortons goes, it's ever-so important to know where they stand on the issue of civil rights for gays and lesbians. Tim Hortons currently has franchises in Maine, where anti-LGBT folks have put a ballot initiative on the slate for this year which could eliminate the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in the state. If Tim Hortons is going to take a position on same-sex marriage by sponsoring organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, LGBT folks and LGBT allies in places like Maine - as well as places like New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere where Tim Hortons are popping up - deserve to know.

UPDATE: For Canadian readers interested in signing the petition, please include both your city and province name in the field for "City," and select "CA" from the list of states. For our petition software, "CA" can act as both California and Canada. This should allow Canadian readers to sign the petition to Thanks!

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