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Human Rights Campaign, CNN to hold LGBTQ town hall with 2020 Democrats

Human Rights Campaign, CNN to hold LGBTQ town hall with 2020 Democrats

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation announced Thursday that it will host a CNN Democratic presidential town hall in California next month to focus on LGBTQ issues.

HRC said the event, which will air from Los Angeles on the eve of National Coming Out Day, will feature “the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues.”

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The candidates will appear at back-to-back town halls and will take questions both from the audience and CNN journalists regarding their plans to promote equality for the LGBTQ community.

HRC said Thursday morning that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks | Democrats eye action on range of climate bills | Biden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports Biden rolls out group of deputy secretary nominees On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks Empire State Building lights on eve of Biden inauguration to honor COVID-19 victims READ: Harris letter resigning from Senate ahead of inauguration MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGoogle completes Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: Fringe social networks boosted after Capitol attack | Planned protests spark fears of violence in Trump's final days | Election security efforts likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress US Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots MORE (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP What to watch for in Biden Defense pick's confirmation hearing Biden selects Gensler for SEC chair, Rohit Chopra to lead CFPB MORE (D-Mass.) have already committed to joining the event.

“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,” said HRC President Alphonso David.

“Today, at a time when our most basic civil rights and democratic values are under attack, our work has never been more urgent. 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.” 

David cited state laws allowing employers to fire people over their sexuality and legalizing conversion therapy, as well as the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations protecting transgender students and efforts to prevent transgender troops from serving in the military, as evidence that such a town hall is needed.

A June Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe new civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The poll came about a month after the House passed the Equality Act, which would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, jury selection and public accommodations.

To qualify for the town hall, candidates must meet the same thresholds the Democratic National Committee (DNC) laid out for its September and October debates — hitting 2 percent in four DNC-approved polls and garnering 130,000 unique donors. The polls for this town hall must be released between June 28 and Sept. 25.