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.”
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 Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden to tout new bridge program at infrastructure law's 60-day mark Stacey Abrams's shocking snub of Biden, Harris signals possible 2024 aspirations President Biden is blaming everyone else for surging inflation MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWe are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Joe Biden's disastrous 48 hours The Hill's Morning Report - For Biden, it goes from bad to worse MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate antitrust bill has serious ramifications for consumers and small businesses NYT columnist floats Biden-Cheney ticket in 2024 Klobuchar needs to put her antitrust legislation to the sunshine test MORE (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWe are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances Sanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans 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.