Six of the top ten Democratic presidential candidates have signed on to appear in a town hall focused on "issues of importance to the LGBTQ community." The October 10 event will be hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign.
"The evening will constitute the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues and will mark the first time in history that a major cable news network will air a presidential event devoted to issues of importance to the LGBTQ community," HRC says in a press release.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Elizabeth Warren will all participate. The event is open to all Democratic presidential candidates who meet the DNC's fall debate eligibility criteria.
Currently not on HRC's list for the LGBTQ town hall but qualified for this month's DNC debate are Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Andrew Yang.
"In 2018, LGBTQ voters cast ballots in higher numbers than the general population. LGBTQ voters cast more than 7 million ballots in all -- a turnout of roughly 70 percent, compared to a turnout of 49 percent among the general population -- and comprised 6 percent of the entire electorate," HRC notes, adding that there are 10 million LGBTQ voters nationwide.
"Over the last two years," HRC adds, "the Trump-Pence Administration has rescinded key protections for transgender students, appointed two new conservative justices to the Supreme Court, banned transgender troops from serving openly in the military, and has repeatedly sought to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in healthcare, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of life under the guise of 'religious freedom.' Despite campaigning on a promise to be a 'friend' to the LGBTQ community, President Trump designated Mike Pence as his vice president, and has refused to advance bipartisan federal civil rights legislation -- the Equality Act -- which overwhelmingly passed through the U.S. House of Representatives this spring."