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Candidates tackle gay issues in forum on LOGO
Melissa Etheridge and Joe Solmonese to serve as co-panelists

by Brad Luna
LOS ANGELES — Gay-targeted cable network LOGO and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) have announced they will co-present an historic televised forum on issues of importance to the LGBT community with the leading 2008 Democratic presidential candidates. Among those expected to attend are Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson.

The forum will take place Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET in Los Angeles before a studio audience. It will be broadcast live, without commercial interruption, exclusively on LOGO’s 24/7 cable television channel, as well as through live streaming video at www.logoonline.com.
LOGO is a division of Viacom’s MTV Networks and HRCF is the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

This event, which marks the first time in history the major presidential candidates will address a live LGBT television audience, is part of MTV Networks’ award-winning pro-social efforts and dedication to engaging its audiences on the issues that are most important and relevant to them.

The event also continues HRCF’s efforts to educate and bring awareness to issues of equality and fairness that continue to affect the lives of LGBT Americans.

The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with co-panelists Melissa Etheridge, performer and advocate, and Joe Solmonese, HRCF president. The panelists plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues.

“We’re honored to give the presidential candidates an historic opportunity to share their views directly with the LGBT audience,” said Brian Graden, president, Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group, and president, LOGO. “This forum continues MTV Networks’ tradition of engaging vital niche audiences with voting and the electoral process.”

“In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the LGBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation,” said Solmonese. “From the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to the recent signing of a civil unions bill in New Hampshire, there is no doubt that voters will demand answers to important questions affecting our community.”

The forum will include significant online components at www.logoonline.com and www.hrc.org, including online question submission. The LGBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data make up approximately four percent of the voting population. Los Angeles was chosen as the site for the event because of the state’s early primary election, on Feb. 5, 2008. The event will take place at Studio City, Calif., at HD Vision Studios. This event represents the first live event airing on LOGO.

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