Leading Presidential Candidates to Participate in Historic Forum on Gay Issues

by HRC Staff

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Human Rights Campaign Foundation and MTV Networks' Logo Channel to Co-Present Live Televised Event Aug. 9 with Co-Panelists Melissa Etheridge and Joe Solmonese

LOS ANGELES - Logo, a division of Viacom's MTV Networks, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation today announced they will co-present a historic televised forum on issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community with the leading 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, including, currently confirmed and in alphabetical order, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The one-hour event will be held on Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET in Los Angeles before a studio audience and broadcast live, without commercial interruption, exclusively on Logo's 24/7 cable television channel as well as through live streaming video at LOGOonline.com. Logo is the nation's leading television and broadband channel for the GLBT audience and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the nation's largest GLBT civil rights organization.

This event, which marks the first time in history the major presidential candidates will address a live GLBT 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 the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's efforts to educate and bring awareness to issues of equality and fairness that continue to affect the lives of GLBT Americans.

Candidates currently agreed to participate in the forum and share their views with the GLBT community are, in alphabetical order, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with co-panelists Melissa Etheridge, performer and advocate, and Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. 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.

"In the 2008 presidential election, issues of concern to the GLBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. "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."

"We're honored to give the presidential candidates a 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."

The forum will include significant online components at LOGOonline.com and HRC.org, including online question submission. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Logo invited the leading Democratic and Republican candidates to participate in the forum.

The GLBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data makes up approximately 4 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, and this event represents the first live event airing on Logo.

About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRCF strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

About Logo

Logo is the ad-supported television and broadband network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender viewers, launched by MTV Networks. The network launched June 30, 2005, with more than 1,000 hours of content and has approximately 27 million subscribers across the United States. Logo provides LGBT audiences with a place where they can see themselves and be themselves through a mix of original and acquired entertainment programming that is authentic, smart and inclusive. Logo joins Viacom's roster of popular and highly targeted cable networks which includes MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike TV.

About MTV Networks

MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with 137 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN/THE N, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.

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