Chicago Mayor welcomes Gay Games, supports gay rights

Troy Espera | July 13, 2006

Mayor Richard Daley
CHIGACO — Chicago�s mayor, reiterating his support for gay marriage at the city�s Roosevelt University on Monday, welcomed the Gay Games to the Midwest metropolis and said gay people are key parts of the city�s economic and social engines.

"We're very proud of the gay community in our city," Mayor Richard Daley said in an article appearing in the Chicago Tribune. "Every quality-of-life issue, the gay community has stepped forward as great leaders, and this is another example."

The weeklong event, expected to draw nearly 12,000 athletes from 65 countries, will be staged in 33 venues across Chicago and the suburbs, beginning Saturday and ending with closing ceremonies at Wrigley Field on July 22. The Tribune reports that Daley said he would attend opening ceremonies at Soldier Field.

According to Daley, the event could prove to the world that Chicago would be a fit host for the 2016 Olympics, he said, by demonstrating its ability to stage a major athletic competition across a wide area while coordinating police, fire and emergency medical services.

"Gay Games is like a preliminary for the Olympics," he said, the Tribune reports. "It's like a showcase for it."

The Tribune reported that Police Supt. Philip Cline wouldn't discuss details of Gay Games security but said it will be similar to staffing for other major events, such as the Taste of Chicago.

Protesters "who wish to express their 1st Amendment rights" will be guided to designated areas during opening and closing ceremonies, he told the Tribune.

"We do not anticipate any problems, and have not received any information to indicate that an attempt to disrupt the games is in the works," Cline said.

But officials told the Tribune they expect protesters.

"Our answer to them is that we are a strong, vital part of this city," said Kevin Boyer, co-vice chairman of the Gay Games Chicago board. "We play a role in the economic, political and social vitality of Chicago, and we're ecstatic to be in a place where we are welcomed by every facet of life.� – Issued by Gay Link Content

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