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Visible Vote '08: A Presidential Forum

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The Visible Vote ’08: A Presidential Forum aired live on August 9, 2007 on Logo, the gay and lesbian network. It was the first-ever televised, live forum with U.S. Presidential candidates discussing solely on LGBT-related issues.[1] The event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and Logo. The forum was the first live event for the Logo channel.[1]

Format Edit

The forum consisted of each candidate appearing on the program in the order in which they accepted the invitation by Logo and the Human Rights Campaign to participate.[2] Each candidate were proposed questions by three panelists and regulated by moderator Margaret Carlson. The three panelists were Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese, singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, and journalist Jonathan Capeheart.

The issues that were presented at the forum include gay marriage and civil unions, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Attendees Edit

Six of the eight top Democratic Party presidential candidates attended the forum: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Senator John Edwards (SC), former Senator Mike Gravel (AK), Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH), Junior Senator Barack Obama (IL), and Gov. Bill Richardson (NM). Both Senator Christopher Dodd (CT) and Senator Joseph Biden (DE) could not attend due to scheduling conflicts with the live event.[3]

The Republican Party candidates were also invited to the forum by Logo; however, Logo reported the Republican candidates had declined or did not respond to the invitation.[4]

Several LGBT figures and allies attended the forum, including actress Jane Lynch, ex-marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, comedian Alec Mapa, Noah’s Arc’s Darryl Stephens, Doug Spearman, and Wilson Cruz, writer-director Nora Ephron, and actor Neil Patrick Harris.

Highlights Edit

Melissa Etheridge, one of the three panelists at the forum, asked Sen. Bill Richardson, "Do you think homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?" Richardson had responded, "It's a choice." Etheridge restated the question as, "Do you think a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, 'Oh, I want to be gay'?" Richardson replied, "Well, I'm not a scientist."[5]

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton faced scrutiny from gay advocates when she was asked by Joe Solomenese about her opposition to same-sex marriage. Clinton replied, "I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions."[6] Clinton stated she fully supported civil unions with full equality and benefits to heterosexual marriage. Other views on same-sex marriage include Senator Barack Obama stating he would "make sure the legal rights that have consequences on day-to-day basis for loving same sex couples all across the country… are recognized and enforced."[4] Senator John Edwards renounced his previous statements that due to his religious views and Southern Baptist background, he opposed same-sex marriage. Edwards stated "I shouldn’t have said that."[6]

Only Representative Dennis Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel stated their support for same-sex marriage, as opposed to civil unions with all rights similar to marriage favored by the leading Democratic candidates.[7]

The debate on gays in the military developed as another topic at the forum. Senator Clinton claimed the creation of the "don’t ask, don’t tell policy" under former President Bill Clinton’s administration was initially to prevent a "witch hunt" for gays and lesbians in the military.[6]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Johnson, T. "Dems debate gay issues on Logo". Variety (magazine). July 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 29, 2008
  2. Eleveld, K., Garcia, M. "Democratic candidates talk gay issues in historic presidential forum," The Advocate. August 11, 2007. Retrieved on March 6, 2008.
  3. "HRC, Logo to host candidate forum." Associated Press,, July 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 26, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crowley, C. "Democratic hopefuls pressed on gay issues at forum." CNN, August 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 28, 2008
  5. Tapper, J. "Dems Court the Gay Vote." ABC News, August 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 27, 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Healy, P. "Democrats Voice Support of Gay Rights in TV Forum." New York Times, August 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 30, 2008.
  7. Helman, S. "At forum, six Democrats grilled on gay marriage." The Boston Globe, August 10, 2007. Retrieved on January 26, 2008.

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