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Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang will be absent at town hall on LGBTQ issues

Nick Duffy September 19, 2019
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will miss two of the only national events on LGBT+ issues

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will miss two of the only national events on LGBT+ issues. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty)

Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang will be absent at a town hall on LGBTQ issues, citing a “scheduling conflict.”

Nearly all of the major Democratic Presidential hopefuls plan to take part in the CNN and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) event on October 10, which will be one of the only times in the campaign that they will be asked about their policy plans on LGBT+ issues on a national stage.

Of the eleven Democrats who met the qualifying requirements for the town hall, only two have declined to attend.

Current frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are both taking part, alongside Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Julián Castro.

‘Scheduling conflict’: Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang absent from two major LGBT events

CNN confirmed: “Citing scheduling conflicts, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Andrew Yang each declined HRC’s invitation to participate in the event.”

Yang and Sanders are also missing from the lineup for a separate candidates’ forum on LGBTQ issues hosted by GLAAD on September 20, where confirmed participants include Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Andrew Yang (far left) and Bernie Sanders (centre-right) are both set to skip Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD events
Andrew Yang (far left) and Bernie Sanders (centre-right) are both set to skip Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD events (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fringe candidates Joe Sestak, Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson will also take part in the GLAAD event, but have not met the qualifying requirements for the HRC town hall.

The two events will be crucial for wooing LGBT+ voters, as the three Democratic TV debates so far have not included a single question about LGBT+ issues.

Sanders does detail an LGBT+ policy plan on his website, matching promises from other candidates to “pass the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and other bills to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.”

Yang’s policy platform includes pledges to “promote any legislation extending protected status to individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity” and to “appoint LGBTQ individuals to senior posts in my administration.”

‘Strong interest’ from Democratic candidates in town hall

HRC President Alphonso David said: “We’re pleased to see such strong interest among the candidates to participate in the historic Power of our Pride town hall and articulate their visions for LGBTQ people.

“For many of the 57 million Equality Voters across the country, the event will mark the first time they will hear from this Democratic presidential field about how they plan to achieve full federal equality for LGBTQ people, among other issues vital to the community.

“Our community is at a crossroads and we must identify a leader who can defeat the anti-LGBTQ Trump-Pence ticket and reverse their many attacks on LGBTQ people. Given the high number of candidates participating, this event is poised to help us do just that.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Dana Bash, and Chris Cuomo are set to moderate at HRC and CNN’s town hall, which will see candidates appear back-to-back throughout the evening, taking questions from the audience and a moderator.

More: Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders

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