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JIC Post:By Ron Von MetzkeGaywiredFive Republican members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners have requested their names be withdrawn from a proclamation welcoming the 2006 Gay Games to Chicago, and the Illinois Family Institute is urging Democratic commissioners to do the same. “There's a big difference between tolerating and celebrating homosexuality” said Peter LaBarbera of Cook County’s decision to sponsor the event. “For governments to be using taxpayer money and big corporations spending money to sponsor this, we think the average Joe sees that as being just a little bit off.” The proclamation welcoming the weeklong Gay Olympics was approved last month by commissioners. It is considered a ceremonial and has no substantial impact on whether the games go forward. “I must have been out of the room” when the proclamation came before the board, Tony Peraica, one of the five Republicans on the 17-commissioner board, said. “I'm a pro-family kind of person and conservative on social issues.” Organizers are anticipating the Gay Games could pump $50 million to $80 million into Chicago's economy. Gay Games spokeswoman Tracy Baim said she's not surprised by the commissioners' move. She said she “was actually more surprised when they” voted in favour of the welcome. Commissioner Mike Quigley will play hockey in the games and sponsored the proclamation. “It's a blinding bias and animosity that is overriding human interest, job creation, economic development and the whole spirit of athletic competition,” Quigley said of the five commissioners' withdrawing their names from the welcome. Next year's opening ceremony on 15 July is planned for Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, and the closing ceremonies on 22 July are to be held at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field. Gay Games officials say they are anticipating some 100,000 participants in the event.
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