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'No Public Money' For Gay Games, Group Demands


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'No Public Money' For Gay Games, Group Demands

by Steph Smith 365Gay.com Chicago Bureau

Posted: August 5, 2005 7:30 pm ET

(Chicago, Illinois) A conservative Christian group that has been fighting LGBT civil rights in Illinois is demanding that the state's Bureau of Tourism refuse to give public funds to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

The Illinois Family Institute is rallying its supporters to pressure the bureau to reject an application for funding

"We're opposed to the use of taxpayer dollars to promote an event that celebrates homosexuality," Peter LaBarbera, the institute's executive director told the Chicago Tribune. "The idea of using sport to promote homosexuality is wrong."

The Chicago organizer of the event, Chicago Games Inc., has submitted an application for promotion money. The bureau says it has not made a decision, but if it honors the request, the games would receive matching funds up to 50 percent of any money raised by the organizers, including donations from the private sector.

Tourism grants are funded by taxes collected from the state's lodging industry.

Fundamentalist groups have targeted the games economically. The institute is a supporter of the American Family Association which is targeting sponsors.

In May the AFA began a campaign against Kraft Foods for its sponsorship of the Gay Games, but stopped just short of advocating a boycott. (story) A month later, Evangelist Jerry Falwell called for a full boycott. (story)

The institute and the AFA also targeted Harris Bank for contributing $25,000 to the event.

Organizers say the Gay Games, set for July 2006, could pump $50 million to $80 million into Chicago's economy.

©365Gay.com 2005


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