Photo Credit: Erik (HASH) Hersman, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

[Ed. Note — The following is a press release written in part by QNotes staff and released this morning on behalf of the co-sponsors of the forum, including QNotes, the Charlotte Business Guild, LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County, Log Cabin Republicans and the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee.]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Five local LGBT community organizations will host a candidate forum with more than a dozen Charlotte City Council at-large candidates and five candidates for mayor on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, 6:30 p.m., at Le Méridien Hotel, 555 S. McDowell St. in Charlotte.

The first-of-its-kind candidate forum will bring together a wide diversity of LGBT community members and candidate to discuss several important issues, including this year’s hotly-debated LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances voted down by Charlotte City Council on March 2.

Candidates will each be asked five questions on timely and important local LGBT issues. The forum is free and open to the public. A reception with candidate meet-and-greets will follow the forum.

City Council at-large candidates who have RSVP’d currently include: Laurence Bibbs, Darrell Bonapart, Pablo Carvajal, Bruce Clark, Julie Eiselt, Sean Guatan, Shawn Greeson, Mo Idlibby, Vi Lyles, Billy Maddalon, James Mitchell, John Powell and David Rice.

Mayoral candidates who have RSVP’d currently include: Dan Clodfelter, Roderick Davis, David Howard, DeJawon Joseph and Jennifer Roberts.

Forum co-sponsors include the Charlotte Business Guild, LGBT Democrats of Mecklenburg County, Log Cabin Republicans, Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee and QNotes.

The event will moderated by Melissa Morris and Matt Comer.

Morris has two decades of experience in community engagement activism, training and program development for community-based organizations. Prior to moving to Charlotte, she was the campaign manager for the ACLU of Pennsylvania where she developed and oversaw the statewide public education campaign, “Why Marriage Matters PA,” which helped win marriage equality throughout Pennsylvania in 2014. Morris was the founding director of diversity initiatives at a Pennsylvania college and she has led programming in the areas of LGBT awareness, diversity and inclusion, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS counseling services.

Comer is editor of QNotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper of North Carolina, and has over a decade of experience in LGBT activism, advocacy and community journalism. His reporting and commentary has appeared locally and nationally, including in The Advocate and CNN Headline News, among others, and his work has been profiled or cited, among others, by The New York Times, Associated Press, BBC World Service, The Washington Post and nearly a dozen non-fiction works and academic journals.

Reserved seating will be provided for media. Media are asked to arrive no later than 6:15 p.m.