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Remember That Time Melissa Etheridge Hosted a Presidential Forum?

The Human Rights Campaign will host a presidential forum in October.

The Human Rights Campaign will host an LGBTQ+ presidential forum this fall. Let's take a second to remember the last forum they hosted in 2007.

Remember that time Melissa Etheridge hosted a presidential forum? Like most of the things that happened during the height of Perez Hilton's late-aughts relevance, we must have blacked it out, but we're not fucking with you -- this totally happened!

News of the Human Rights Campaign's Democratic presidential candidate forum on LGBTQ+ issues brought it all rushing back. The HRC hosted a similar forum in 2007 that aired on Logo as Visible Vote '08: A Presidential Forum, where Democratic hopefuls were asked to weigh in on all the mainstream gay issues du jour, like whether gays should be able to marry and...whether being gay was a choice?? Oh, my god...... I mean, I love Cynthia Nixon's anti-"Born This Way" rhetoric as much as the next girl and/or gay, but Mike Gravel and Bill Richardson were NOT gonna bring that kinda nuance to the table.

Four other Democrats participated in the forum alongside Gravel and Richardson: eventual 44th president Barack Obama, then-senators Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, and then-representative Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, as you might recall if you are 87, was considered super progressive at the time for saying pretty baseline things like, "more people should have health care" and "marry my gays." (Not actual quotes.)

In fact, Kucinich and Gravel were the only candidates present to say that same-sex couples should be able to get married! Obama said he wasn't incorporating the matter into his presidential platform because "I don't make promises I can't keep," while Clinton said that same-sex marriage should be left to the states.

It's easy (and fun!) to rake Clinton or Obama over the coals for not supporting same-sex marriage soon enough, but, in their defense, more than half the country opposed the idea at the time. What gay thing Americans did support was repealing "don't ask, don't tell" so that LGBTQ+ people could fight in the military, which says a lot about how scarily fascist-adjacent-"hold the -adjacent" America was slash still is! We were in the middle of this delusionally jingoist, imperialist project known as the War on Terror at the time, and...oh right, we're still doing that!

All six candidates at the HRC forum opposed "don't ask, don't tell," arguing that gays should be allowed to fight in wars. A shock. I know. What's ACTUALLY shocking is that Richardson fumbled a softball question about whether homosexuality was "a choice" -- at an LGBTQ+ forum!! Hosted by the Human Rights Campaign!!!! Etheridge, apparently shocked and appalled, called him out on it immediately, to which he said, "I'm not a scientist."

Anyway, this is all to say that we're all looking forward to the HRC's 2019 forum on Oct. 10, where all the candidates' answers will hopefully age a little better than they did at the 2007 one.

RELATED | Pete Buttigieg Will Be the First Out Gay Politician in a Presidential Debate

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Harron Walker