Andrews calls relationship with LGBT community strong and solid despite company’s contributions to homophobic Republican’s campaign
Andrews Distributing has been one of the most steadfast corporate supporters of the LGBT community and equality in Dallas. In fact, the company is the title sponsor of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade this year, with a multi-year sponsorship contract.
So some people were disappointed to hear that company founder Barry Andrews was sponsoring a fundraiser for Sen. Dan Patrick in his home.
Patrick is the Republican candidate for Texas lieutenant governor. He’s served his northwest Houston and suburban Harris County district in the Texas Senate since 2007. He was a Houston sports broadcaster and is a conservative radio talk show host.
Along with 62 other Republican state House and Senate members, Patrick recently signed on to an amicus brief to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a marriage equality case out of Texas. That brief links same-sex marriage to pedophilia, bigamy and incest.
Mike McGuire is president of Andrews Distributing. He said support for Patrick among some executives in his company revolves around bills that came up in the legislature involving the liquor industry and doesn’t involve the senator’s positions on social issues and LGBT rights.
“Leadership here has a singular focus when determining support for a statewide office, particularly in a race such as the one for lieutenant governor who presides over the Texas Senate and has enormous power and influence on the law-making process in Austin,” McGuire said.
“In the last Legislature alone, there were 92 alcohol-related bills introduced and 95 others that could have impacted the beer business and its customers. Candidates must understand and be willing to listen to the views of the beer industry, its importance to Texas and have a commitment to protect beer consumers, a highly diverse community in Texas,” he said.
“There are millions of enthusiasts who enjoy beer at events such as NASCAR races, tailgate football celebrations, family barbecues, baseball games, post-dove hunt dinners or the Allen Ross Dallas Pride Parade,” McGuire added.
Michael Doughman, executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild that stages the parade, said his organization has an excellent relationship with Andrews Distributing and its management company. He said in addition to the company’s own sponsorship of the parade, they’ve brought in Heineken and Miller Lite as additional sponsors and Coors as Voice of Pride sponsor.
McGuire continued, “We are advocates and supporters of myriad causes through event sponsorships as well as marketing and advertising support. Andrews has a long-term partnership with Tavern Guild. That relationship is characterized by an open line of communications and a joint commitment to build an even stronger future for events such as the Pride Parade. It’s all about brand-building for our products and their events, and our work together has been extraordinarily successful.”
Doughman agreed. “Our relationship with them has always been strong and solid. They’re always first to the table,” he said, adding that he doesn’t expect that relationship to change and that he expects it to continue into the future.
Signing the anti-gay amicus brief wasn’t Patrick’s first foray into anti-gay pandering.
In February, a tweet from Patrick went wrong because of a typo.
“MARRIAGE=ONE MAN & ONE MAN. Enough of these activist judges. FAVORITE if you agree. I know the silent majority is out there with
us,” he tweeted.
After deleting the original with the typo, he then sent the message, “Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period.”
Then he retweeted the original after correcting the second “one man” to “one woman.”
After Mayor Annise Parker married her partner Kathy Hubbard, Patrick felt compelled to weigh in on the ceremony.
“I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas,” Patrick said at the time. “This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.”
Parker and Hubbard married in January on their 23rd anniversary. They have raised three children together.
Patrick’s political feuds are not only with Democrats.
In 2012, Patrick, who has been married to his second wife for 38 years, and Dallas state Sen. John Carona got into an email battle that Carona claimed Patrick leaked to the press for political gain. Accusations included Carona allegedly questioning Patrick’s sexual orientation, which Carona denied doing.
“I’ve never been shy about sharing my dislike and distrust of you,” Carona said, according to reports in the Austin American-Statesman. “Put bluntly, I believe you are a snake oil salesman; a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.”
At least some of Patrick’s supporters say the state senator is not anti-gay, just anti-marriage equality. But during last winter’s Duck Dynasty controversy, Patrick’s remarks had nothing to do with marriage. While Patrick didn’t mention the word “gay,” the controversy entirely revolved around reality show star Phil Robertson’s homophobic rants.
“This is an exciting time for Christians,” Patrick wrote on his Facebook page. “God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, Phil Robertson, about God’s Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching. God has used unlikely people in the Bible before to share his Word throughout history. He is doing it again. Phil’s words will reach more people than any preacher or conservative leader could. It’s clear God is speaking to us and I find it exciting.”
Patrick’s also come out against domestic partner benefits.
“Since the people voted overwhelmingly a few years ago to define marriage between one man and one woman it seemed unconstititutional [sic] to me,” he wrote on Facebook in April 2013.
Patrick’s opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race, Leticia Van de Putte, has worked with Patrick in the Texas Senate.
“If you don’t have respect for all Texans, you are not putting Texas first,” Van de Putte said. “All Texans deserve the opportunity to live a life of dignity without fear, especially fear of their elected leaders. It is time to end discrimination and to promote equality for all.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 5, 2014.