OAKVILLE Ontario Bakery-café chain Tim Hortons apologized Monday for agreeing to sponsor an event it later discovered was produced by a conservative group seeking to block same-sex marriage.
Tim Hortons dropped out of the event, to be held Aug. 16 in Providence, R.I., and said in a statement that the “event organizer and purpose of the event fall outside of our sponsorship guidelines” because the chain does not sponsor “religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups.”
“Tim Hortons and its storeowners have always welcomed all families and communities to its restaurants and will continue to do so,” the company’s statement read. “We apologize for any misunderstanding or inconvenience this may have caused.”
The event — the first annual Celebrate Marriage & Family Day — is organized by The National Organization for Marriage, a group that says on its website that the event “is a great opportunity to take a stand for marriage as it was created: between a man and a woman.”
Tim Hortons, which operates 36 locations throughout Rhode Island, said it had been “approached to provide free coffee and products for a local event, as we do thousands of times a year across Canada and the United States.”
“As a company, [Tim Hortons] primary focus is on helping children and supporting fundraising events for nonprofit organizations and registered charities,” the company’s statement continued. “For that reason, Tim Hortons has not sponsored those representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups … As such, Tim Hortons cannot provide support at the event.”
The chain operates about 3,437 units in the United States and Canada, with 520 located in the United States.