CNN, Human Rights Campaign To Host LGBTQ Town Hall With 2020 Candidates

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced Wednesday that it’s partnering with CNN to host a 2020 Democratic presidential town hall focused on issues affecting the LGBTQ community.

The event, named “Power of Our Pride,” is set to take place at the Novo, a Los Angeles venue, on Oct. 10, the night before the 31st annual National Coming Out Day, the foundation said.

“For nearly 40 years, the Human Rights Campaign has fought to realize a world in which LGBTQ people are safe, equal and free in every aspect of our lives,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “Today, at a time when our most basic civil rights and democratic values are under attack, our work has never been more urgent.”

He continued: “We are eager to hear from this field of Democratic presidential candidates about how they plan to win full federal equality, defend the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people, and protect the most vulnerable among us ― both here in the United States and around the globe ― from stigma, institutional inequality, discrimination, and violence.”

Candidates must meet the Democratic National Committee’s fall debate eligibility requirements ― 2% or more support in four separate state or national polls, and 130,000 unique donors with a minimum of 400 individual donors across 20 states ― in order to participate in the town hall.

At least six candidates have signed on to join the event, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), as well as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg ― the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.

As the HRC Foundation noted in its announcement, President Donald Trump and his administration have pushed measures that negatively affect the LGBTQ community, including banning openly transgender people from serving in the military and seeking to roll back anti-discrimination protections.

“Although the federal government should be protecting all residents, the Trump-Pence Administration is directly attacking our community by banning transgender troops from serving our country openly, undermining health care services for people living with HIV, and seeking to erase LGBTQ people from protections under law,” David said. 

The LGBTQ town hall is slated to take place five days ahead of the fourth Democratic primary debate.

CORRECTION: A earlier version of this story stated that Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major party. In fact, Fred Karger, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, holds that title.

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