For the first time in ten years, Democratic presidential candidates will share their policy positions and views on LGBTQ issues at a debate to be hosted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Scheduled for October 10, the evening before National Coming Out Day, the event will be held on UCLA campus.
The topics will range from hate crimes, transgender rights, so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and more.
To qualify for participation, a candidate needs to poll at least 1% in three separate national polls, OR receive campaign donations from over 65,000 people in at least 20 states.
As Instinct recently reported, openly gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has already crossed that threshold.
The forum will be one of 12 debates to be held during the Democratic primary season leading up to the 2020 election.
The last forum sponsored by the HRC took place in 2008 with then-candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinish and Bill Richardson.
It’s notable how LGBTQ issues have shifted substantially since then.
According to Gallup polling:
• In 2008, 55% felt “same-sex relations between consenting adults should be legal.” In 2018, that figure has reached 75% support.
• In 2008, only 40% of those polled agreed that “marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid.” In 2018, that figure had risen to 67% support.
The Republican party hasn’t held a presidential debate on LGBTQ issues.
As NBC News points out, LGBTQ Americans have traditionally voted for Democrats in presidential elections.
According to an NBC News exit poll last November, 82 percent of LGBTQ voters cast a ballot for their district’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives.
And in 2016, 78 percent of LGBTQ voters cast a ballot for the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.