LOS ANGELES (BP)–Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other leading Democratic presidential candidates will participate Aug. 9 in what is being billed as the first-ever presidential forum on homosexual issues.
The one-hour event is being sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest homosexual activist organization — and Logo, a cable TV channel devoted exclusively to the homosexual community. Logo is a division of MTV Networks.
The Los Angeles forum will be televised on Logo and streamed on its website and will focus on “issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,” according to an HRC press release. Panelists asking the questions will be HRC President Joe Solmonese and singer and advocate Melissa Etheridge, who is a lesbian. Currently, Clinton and Obama are the only confirmed candidates, although their participation surely will lead others to follow.
“In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the GLBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation,” Solmonese said in a statement. “From the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to the recent signing of a civil unions bill in New Hampshire, there is no doubt that voters will demand answers to important questions affecting our community.”
Said Logo President Brian Graden, “This forum continues MTV Networks’ tradition of engaging vital niche audiences with voting and the electoral process.”
Among the issues that will be discussed, according to the press release, are “gay marriage,” workplace laws, the military, hate crimes and HIV/AIDS.
HRC and Logo invited the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, the press release said, although it did not state who they were.
The forum will begin at 9 p.m. ET. Candidates will appear on stage sequentially.