(Los Angeles, California) For the first time the leading candidates for the presidency will hold a televised debate devoted solely to LGBT issues.The one-hour event will be held on August 9 and broadcast on gay network LOGO at 9:00 pm ET (6:00pm ET) and through live streaming video at LOGOonline.com. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have confirmed they will participate. Several other Democratic candidates also may join the debate.
The debate will be conducted with a live audience in Los Angeles. On the panel questioning the two Democrats will be Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese and singer Melissa Etheridge.The debate was put together by LOGO and HRC. "In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the LGBT 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 panelists in a statement said they plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues. The LGBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data make up approximately 4 percent of the voting population.
Los Angeles was chosen as the site for the event because of the state's early primary election, on February 5th, 2008. "We're honored to give the presidential candidates an historic opportunity to share their views directly with the LGBT audience," Brian Graden, President, Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group, and President, LOGO said in a statement. "This forum continues MTV Networks' tradition of engaging vital niche audiences with voting and the electoral process." In addition to questioning by Solmonese and Etheridge people will be able to pose their own questions through LOGOonline.com and HRC.org.