Gay Games Allowed Crystal Lake Park Board Approves Rowing Events 3-2

By Garmoe, Patrick | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 8, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Gay Games Allowed Crystal Lake Park Board Approves Rowing Events 3-2


Garmoe, Patrick, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Patrick Garmoe Daily Herald Staff Writer

Whether it was voting in favor of a gay agenda, or simply reversing a discriminatory stance, Crystal Lake Park District commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to allow the Gay Games to use Crystal Lake for its rowing competition July 16, following more than three hours of heated debate in front of a crowd of 250 people from throughout the suburbs.

Obviously ecstatic this hurdle has passed, Kevin Boyer, co-vice chairman of the Gay Games, said now the focus can get back to rowing.

"We're here to put on a great rowing event," he said.

The vote came after the park district rejected the Gay Games' request Thursday, when the vote came in at 2-2, which meant it failed.

District attorney Scott Puma said there was no good reason why the park district even bothered voting, since there was one person absent on vacation who ended up wanting to vote later.

At 11:15 p.m., Board President Jerry Sullivan, who was on vacation Thursday, said he heard there was no official presentation about the rowing event, which was another reason to revote. He also stated the issue was whether the event fit within the bounds of what the district typically allows, not the politics of the group.

The rowing event is one of 30 athletic competitions planned July 15-22 when Chicago plays host to the Gay Games VII.

The event, which is open to heterosexual as well as homosexual athletes, could draw as many as 12,000 competitors from 30 countries to the Chicago area.

The rowing event will feature eight divisions of races over about six hours and is not expected to attract more than 75 competitors and about an equal amount of staff and spectators.

Proponents of the idea said promoting tolerance of homosexuality is the reason there's a need for the Gay Games, but mainly it's about sports uniting people.

"I am so proud that I was asked to play in the games," said Crystal Lake softball player Pat Pierce.

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