The Human Rights Campaign and MTV’s Logo network will host a one-hour forum of leading Democratic contenders in Los Angeles on Aug. 9.
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are confirmed to attend the event, which will be shown live on Logo, with panelists including HRC’s Joe Solmonese and singer Melissa Etheridge.
Organizers say the event “marks the first time in history that the major presidential candidates will address a live LGBT television audience.” They say that the panelists “plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate
crimes and HIV/AIDS.”
The event will take place at HD Vision Studios in Studio City, Calif. Los Angeles was chosen because of California’s early primary election on Feb. 5.
Human Rights Campaign spokesman Brad Luna said that they have extended invites to leading GOP contenders for a Republican-centric gay issues forum, but they have received no response from John McCain and Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney declined. Luna added that their rule is that they will proceed with a forum only if two or more of the top tier contenders agree to participate, so its doubtful that there will be one.
As for the rest of the field, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd declined, citing prior commitments, and they have yet to hear from Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich.
Update: I just received word from Dodd’s campaign that he will attend the forum, after all.
Meanwhile, Richardson apologized for a comment he made a year ago on Don Imus’ radio show. According to a story by Karen Ocamb and Chris Crain on Gaynewswatch.com, Richardson used the word “maricon” during one exchange last year with the now-deposed radio host. Translated, that word means “faggot” to many gay Latinos, they report. “I would never knowingly say or do anything to hurt the GLBT community — a community that I have worked hard for and supported my entire career,” Richardson said in a statement.
“In the Spanish I grew up speaking, the term means simply ‘gay,’ not positive or negative. It has been brought to my attention that the word also has a hurtful or derogatory connotation, which was never my intent. If I offended anybody, I’m sorry.”