Updated Sep 18, 2019

CNN to host 2020 town hall on LGBTQ issues

Amy Klobuchar listens while Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Democratic presidential debate July 30. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

CNN released new details Wednesday on its upcoming 2020 Democratic town hall on LGBTQ issues, hosted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The event will take place on Oct. 10, 5 days before the 4th round of primary debates.

Catch up quick: So far, 9 candidates will attend. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former tech executive Andrew Yang declined to participate, citing scheduling conflicts, CNN reports. Candidates are eligible to attend if they meet DNC qualifications for October's primary debates.

Who's going, in order of town hall appearance:

  • Billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro

The big picture: For the past 2 years, the Trump administration has worked to undo a large portion of Obama-era protections granted to the LGBTQ community, particularly for transgender Americans.

  • Booker, Castro, Warren and Biden are among higher-polling candidates who have already referenced specific LGBTQ issues, such as transgender rights.

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CNN's October Democratic debate will take place on 1 night

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

October's Democratic primary debates hosted by CNN and the New York Times will be take place on a single night — Oct. 15 — with 12 candidates on stage.

Why it matters: Even as lower-tier candidates have been racing to reach the Democratic National Committee's higher qualification requirements, the crowded stage will further limit the field's ability to stand out. September's debate, which had 10 candidates on stage over 3 hours, only saw 2 candidates, frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, get more than 15 minutes of speaking time, per the New York Times.

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LGBTQ presidential forum: What you need to know

Biden, Harris, Buttigieg and Warren. Photos: Scott Olson/Getty Images

At Friday's LGBTQ Presidential Forum, Former Vice President Joe Biden got defensive over his history on LGBTQ rights, Sen. Elizabeth Warren recited scripture to emphasize fighting for equal rights, Sen. Kamala Harris dug into policy specifics, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg got personal.

The big picture: 4 of the 5 top-polling candidates — Biden, Warren, Harris and Buttigieg — were among the 2020 hopefuls at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, event organized by LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD. It was their chance to refine their approach to LGBTQ issues and current affairs ahead of CNN's more exclusive LGBTQ 2020 town hall.

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The 2020 candidates who have qualified for the next Democratic debate

Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. Photos: Scott Olson/Getty Images, Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images, and Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The fourth round of Democratic debates will be held on Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio, with 12 candidates onstage, making it the biggest single-night debate to date. 

How it works: This debate had the same requirements as September's. Qualifying candidates must have reached 2% in 4 DNC-approved polls and drawn 130,000 unique donors — including 400 donors in 20 different states. Oct. 1 was the final day to make the cut.

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