For the first time in history, leading US Democratic presidential candidates have agreed to take part in a televised debate solely on gay issues.
The one-hour event, co-hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will be held on 9 August in Los Angeles before a studio audience and broadcast live, exclusively on the gay and lesbian cable channel, Logo, which is owned by MTV Networks.
This event marks the first time in history that major US presidential candidates will address a live GLBT television audience.
The organisers have invited the leading Democratic and Republican candidates to participate in the forum but ,thus far, only Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – both seen as the strongest contenders from the Democratic Party – have agreed to participate.
The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with two co-panellists; lesbian musician Melissa Etheridge and Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC.
The panellists plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important matters.
“In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the GLBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation,” said Solmonese. “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.”
The forum will include significant online components at LOGOonline.com and HRC.org, including online question submission.
The GLBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data makes up approximately four percent of the voting population.