Buttigieg, Warren to Present Plans for Restoring Civility, LGBTQ Progress on Town Hall Broadcast Tonight

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 10, 2019

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and openly gay candidate for the 2020 presidential election Pete Buttigieg is slated to present a plan to secure equality before the law for America's non-heterosexual citizens at a town hall this evening that is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and will be broadcast by CNN. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a similar plan of her own, reports CNN.

As previously reported at EDGE, the town hall is a joint presentation of the HRC and CNN and included a number of Democratic 2020 hopefuls.

"The evening will constitute the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues and will mark the first time in history that a major cable news network will air a presidential event devoted to issues of importance to the LGBTQ community," a news release from the HRC release promised last month.

CNN noted that both plans make passage of the Equality Act a centerpiece. The Act, which has been introduced numerous times over the past few decades but only passed the House of Representatives for the first time last May, aims to standardize anti-discrimination policies across the country, leveling out the current patchwork that finds some states extending protections to sexual minorities but withholding them from others.

The Trump administration and anti-LGBTQ religious leaders have signaled opposition to the Act, with fervent Trump supporter and prominent evangelical Franklin Graham attacking Taylor Swift this past August for Taylor's support of the measure.

Both Buttigieg and Warren pledge to bolster LGTBQ rights and end discriminatory practices under which they have lived. Reported CNN:

Warren and Buttigieg pledge to reverse the Trump administration's rollbacks of LGBTQ protections, including the ban on transgender military service members and religious exemption policies. Warren writes the US must end "the weaponization of religion to discriminate against or harm LGBTQ+ people."

The candidates also have plans to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, improve the availability of PrEP in the battle to eliminate AIDS, protect same-sex prospective parents who wish to adopt from being targeted with discriminatory policies, and tackle housing problems, bullying in schools that targets and endangers LGBTQ youth, and put meaningful work into eradicating AIDS - a goal that President Trump has announced, though the policies his administration pursues work in direct contradiction to that stated goal.

Both candidates also propose implementing a national ban on so-called "conversion therapy," CNN reported. "Conversion therapy" is a widely-discredited quack practice that promises to "cure" LGTBQ people. Reputable mental health professionals warn it is both ineffective and potentially damaging to those upon whom it is inflicted, and former leaders in that industry - including John Smid, formerly of Love in Action - have come out as being both gay and now opposed to the practice.

CNN noted that Vice President Mike Pence has, in the past, lauded the idea of taxpayer money being "directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."

Buttigieg, in denouncing the sham therapy, said in a statement that, "When I'm President, we will implement solutions bold enough to meet the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces while bringing the American people together to understand that our freedoms are bound up in each other," reported political news outlet The Hill.

The senator from Massachusetts outlined similarly bold plans, The Hill reported:

Warren, meanwhile, pledged in her plan to use the first 100 days of her presidency to bring back and expand Obama-era protections for the LGBTQ community.

The town hall, which was scheduled for tonight to coincide with National Coming Out Day tomorrow, will also address issues of import for the broader community, including the restoration of civility, CNN noted. The town hall will air at 7:30 p.m. EST and run to midnight.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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