Human rights activist Joe Solomnese and gay performer Melissa Etheridge will question Democratic candidates for President of the United States in the first televised debate for the gay community.

The hour-long event will take place on August 9th and broadcast live on gay network LOGO and through live streaming at LOGOonline.com

Front runners Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have confirmed they will participate. Republican hopefuls have also been invited.

The candidates will engage on issues such as relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, military, hate crimes and HIV / AIDS.

“In the 2008 presidential elections, issues of concern to the LGBT community have already been at the forefront of the national conversation,” said Mr Solomnese.

“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 honoured to give the presidential candidates a historic opportunity to share their views directly with the LGBT audience,” said Brian Graden, LOGO president.

This first televised debate on LGBT issues is sponsored by LOGO and Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF).

Viewers will be able to submit questions online at the HRCF and LOGO websites.

Exit poll data states the LGBT community in the United States makes up approximately four percent of the voting population.

The forum will be held at Studio City, Los Angeles.