Catholic event in Wichita “morally and ethically” excludes gay bar
By Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief
The Midwest Winefest, Wichita’s Guadalupe Clinic’s biggest fundraiser of the year, is excluding some businesses because of their clientele. This year, they say they are not inviting businesses to participate whose practices were “morally and ethically” at odds with the Catholic Church’s values.
The event brings in about $450,000 each year for the clinic, which is part of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
Wichita’s XY Bar was excluded.
“It is my understanding it’s because we are a gay bar,” said Chad Porter, co-owner of XY Bar. “We were involved with them last year.”
Porter and his partner, Jerry Nguyen, have owned and operated XY Bar in Wichita’s Oldtown for two years. This year, they purchased The Store, another popular gay bar in Wichita.
Porter said when a company is excluded from an event like this, they have lost revenue.
“I think the public support around this and their disagreement with this organization will make up for it."
Porter said he is not sure if the organization has found another provider, and not sure if there are other groups or businesses excluded.
When the exclusion of certain companies was disclosed, Standard Beverage and The Wichita Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food also pulled their support from this year’s event. Both are two of the Winefest’s original partners.
“We are a company that is inclusive, and they were going to exclude some people from the event,” said Standard Beverage Vice President of Sales, Joe Fairchild in an interview with The Gayly. “We don’t believe in exclusivity.”
Fairchild said Standard Beverage had supported the Midwest Winefest for 23 years. Like Porter, he does not know specifically the groups or companies that were excluded from the event.
“It [inclusivity] is in our policy and employee handbook. The view of the Winefest was contrary to our policies.”
Standard Beverage has been a liquor distributor in Kansas since 1949. Porter said Standard is one of the liquor distributors in Wichita that "everyone uses."
The Executive Director for Guadalupe Clinic, David Gear, did not respond today to The Gayly’s phone request for an interview and further did not respond to our questions via email earlier today.
In a story released by Kansas.com, Gear said his office did decide this year not to invite businesses to participate whose practices were “morally and ethically” at odds with the Catholic Church’s values. It wasn’t only LGBTQ bars and restaurants that were part of the discussion, he said. Though he declined to list specific businesses, he said that only “three or four vendors out of hundreds” would not be asked back to participate this year.
“We do not feel as a Catholic Diocese and organization that we can put those establishments on posters and flyers and publications that have to do with the Winefest because they don’t morally and ethically align with Catholic morals and principles,” he said.
According to the same story, The Wichita Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF), another founding partner of the event, also has pulled out of this year’s event. That group’s chairman, Mark Douglass, said that although some individuals in the group took issue with the Guadalupe Clinic decision, that wasn’t the main factor in AIWF’s decision to part ways with the Winefest.
“We’re a very small nonprofit, and we’re trying to focus on projects that are more impactful to our mission,” Douglass said. “Winefest had kind of moved beyond us.”
The Standard Beverage chief financial officer, Angie Wilhelm, said among those businesses excluded were bars and restaurants that had an LGBTQ clientele.
Copyright The Gayly - 1/11/2019 @ 6:08 p.m. CST.