Athletes from around the country and the world gathered in downtown Cleveland this weekend for the opening ceremonies of the Gay Games. ideastream's Nick Castele reports President Barack Obama voiced his support in a video played at the event—and the local Republican party also offered a message of welcome.
The president said the country has become more accepting of gays and lesbians over the years, and that his administration supported LGBT rights abroad.
"After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from or who you love, you can make it if you try," Obama said. "That's who we are, that's who we should continually strive to be. But we're also a country that loves competition, so let's get these games underway. Good luck to the athletes, have a great time in Cleveland and Akron, and go Team USA."
Meanwhile, the local Republican Party also sounded a note of welcome to attendees. The Log Cabin Republicans—a group of LGBT conservatives—set up a booth in the Gay Games village in downtown Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County GOP Chairman Rob Frost was there. While many Republican candidates and officeholders oppose same-sex marriage, Frost maintains there's room in the party for people who support it.
"There are other examples of Republican leaders who stand for marriage equality, who have made that very vocal and very visible change, and they haven't been kicked out of the party, either," Frost said, using a term for same-sex marriage embraced by the issue's advocates. "So those diversities of opinion, whichever side you're on, have to be welcome within our party."
Last year, Ohio's Republican Senator, Rob Portman, announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying that his son, who is gay, helped him change his mind.