The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County has a booth at the Gay Games festival, apparently the first time a Republican Party has had an official presence at the Gay Games.
"We want to let people know that they are welcome to Cleveland and that they're welcome to the Republican Party," said county chairman Rob Frost. "We're speaking o the entirye LGBT community that the Republican Party can be a welcoming place, that the party has a libertarian mindset."
Despite the libertarian views, Frost himself opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage. The national Republican Party platform explicitly opposes same-sex marriage; The Ohio Republican Party has adopted the national platform. Frost said he does support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for LGBT people.
"We're not here today having yet changed the national party platform," Frost said. "That discussion begins with being civil and interacting. That discussion doesn't being by saying, 'okay, you change your mind and then we'll talk,' on either side. Unfortunately on social issues, too often that's what both sides expect."
Just over an hour after opening their booth volunteers had 15 people registered for their email list and 20-30 people had popped in to give them thumbs up or express some kind of appreciation. According to county executive committee co-chairwoman Lucy M. Stickan, who works for Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), no one had expressed any ill will toward them.
"You have to get along with the opposite party across the aisle," said JT Neuffer of the Stonewall Democrats, who were also in attendance at the festival. "We need Repulicans to vote for our equal rights, whether it's marriage or non-discrimination in employment. So I don't have a problem with it. I think it's an equal opportunity to come out here and express themselves."