CLEVELAND -- The push was well underway long before President Barack Obama rekindled the debate about gay marriage.
It was in progress prior to Ohio gay marriage backers launching a push to get the issue on the ballot in November 2013.
Positively Cleveland has been reaching out to prospective gay visitors, portraying the city as a vital and welcoming place.
Gay visitors enjoy the same attractions as other visitors...museums, restaurants and recreation.
But there are differences too.
The campaign promotes Cleveland's citywide acceptance in all neighborhoods, instead of the "gayborhoods" in other big cities.
The niche marketing began in 2007 but it is being stepped up as the games approach.
The event is projected to draw more than 31,000 athletes and visitors to Cleveland and Akron in August 2014.
And the expected economic impact? Around $20 million.
Last year, a Gay media outlet, The Advocate, named Cleveland one of America's Gayest Cities, ranking it Number 12.
The Ritz Carlton Hotel and MetroHealth Medical Center have helped to underwrite a special guide to Cleveland for gay visitors.
Word of mouth, in addition to advertising, is an important way to spread a city's reputation in the gay community.
So the campaign is about to ramp up to start attracting visitors this summer.
"We need visitors to start coming now to check it out and tell their friends this is a warm, welcoming city that's got a lot going on....It's important to start marketing now, " said Lexi Hotchkiss, Positively Cleveland's Director of Communications.
A team is at work seeking funding, event locations and organizing 35 sporting competitions, plus other cultural events.
Gay Games 9 Co-Chairperson Hollie Ksiezyk claims big sponsoring coporations are lining up to offer generous support.
"You are not part of the population norm if you do not support the Gay Games," she said.
And she claims gay athletes in adjoining states are proclaiming they will participate because of the "welcoming" feel of the event.
And she says there is an effect in the local gay community.
"I have friends who were not out prior to the games coming here and we're already starting to see the impact, in terms of tolerance and education," she said.
Some are wondering if the President's energizing the gay marriage controversy will mean more support, some pushback or both.
The campaign to attract visitors continues uninterrupted as the political debate goes on.
"Our plans on Monday of this week are the same as they are today," Hotchkiss said.