Republican Party trying to overcome anti-gay perception
CLEVELAND ---The Gay Games are being held in Midwest's Cleveland to dispel stereotypes and enlighten the community about the Gay Community.
Cuyahoga County Republicans have the same goals in a move that will get attention in political circles. Their goal is to overcome the perception that Republicans are less gay friendly.
The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County will have a welcoming booth and pass out drink bottles welcoming gay athletes and visitors with the word "Refreshing."
They will be sharing the booth with the Log Cabin Republicans, a group whose gay members already support the Republican Party.
Local chairman Rob Frost said, "Make no mistake, we're welcoming gays and lesbians not just to Cleveland, but the Republican Party."
Frost said gays and Republicans may have more in common than many think.
"Many gays and lesbians benefit from limited government. The principles on which the Republican Party is based is in line with their beliefs" he said.
Surveys show a majority of Republicans under 30 back legalization of gay marriage.
Asked if the move was a tacit endorsement of gay marriage being legal in Ohio, Frost said, "What this should be interpreted as is respect for diverse views."
Frost says that, if Democratic Cleveland can welcome Republicans in 2016, there's no reason local Republicans cannot welcome gay visitors and offer them the chance to learn more about the party.
"It's about expanding the tent. We know if we build a bigger tent and welcome more people inside, we win elections. That's what this is all about," Frost said.
There is diversity of opinion among top Ohio Republicans on gay marriage, which remains illegal in Ohio, even as more states accept it.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman supports it in light of his experience with his gay son.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine continues to offer opinions in court fights that Ohio's current ban on gay marriages was voted on by the people and should remain the law.
Follow WKYC's Tom Beres on Twitter @TomBeres