Logo and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation will co-present an historic televised presidential candidate forum this Thursday, August 9, on issues of importance to LGBT community.

The Nashville HRC steering committee will host a viewing of the forum at Tribe, 1517 Church Street, this Thursday beginning at 8:00 p.m. There is no admission to attend the viewing, but the local HRC committee will be accepting donations and encouraging those in attendance to take action regarding the pending federal hate crimes legislation.

Confirmed candidates now include, in alphabetical order, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. 

The format of the program will also be extended to 90 minutes to ensure in-depth conversations with each candidate. Discussions are continuing with a variety of journalists and a moderator for the forum will be announced in the near future.

The event will be broadcast live from Los Angeles before a studio audience, without commercial interruption, exclusively on Logo’s 24/7 cable television channel as well as through live streaming video at www.LOGOonline.com.  

Logo is the nation’s leading television and broadband channel for the LGBT audience and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

This event, which marks the first time in history the major presidential candidates will address a live LGBT television audience, is part of MTV Networks’ efforts and dedication to engaging its audiences on the issues that are most important and relevant to them.

The event also continues the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s efforts to educate and bring awareness to issues of equality and fairness that continue to affect the lives of LGBT Americans.

The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with co-panelists Melissa Etheridge, performer and advocate, and Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The panelists plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues.

“We're honored to give the presidential candidates an historic opportunity to share their views directly with the LGBT audience,” said Brian Graden, president, Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group, and president, Logo. “This forum continues MTV Networks’ tradition of engaging vital niche audiences with voting and the electoral process.”

“In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the LGBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. “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 www.LOGOonline.com and www.HRC.org, including online question submission. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Logo invited the leading Democratic and Republican candidates to participate in the forum. 

The LGBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data make up approximately four 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 5, 2008. 

This forum represents the first live event airing on Logo.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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