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Illinois town
gives final approval for Gay Games rowing event

Illinois town
gives final approval for Gay Games rowing event

Organizers of a Gay Games rowing competition have received final approval to hold the event at a suburban Chicago lake during the Olympics-style gathering of gay athletes this summer. The Lakewood Village board voted 3-1 Tuesday to approve the technical changes needed for the July 16 event, TheNorthwest Herald in neighboring Crystal Lake reported. It was the last of three local boards to approve the event. "We're very excited to be coming out here," Nancy Harris, sports director of the Gay Games, told The Chicago Tribune. "It's a wonderful venue." At emotional park district hearings in March, opponents argued that the Games are an inappropriate attempt to legitimize and celebrate the gay "lifestyle" and that organizers are more interested in making a social statement than competing. Supporters had criticized the resistance as discriminatory and hateful, adding that such opposition underscores the Gay Games' mission of tearing down gay stereotypes. Most of the events for the Gay Games are set in Chicago for July 15-22. Organizers have said the weeklong competition is expected to draw 12,000 participants, tens of thousands of spectators, and pump more than $50 million into the local economy. (AP)

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