This is going to be flat-out terrific and panderous television:

Most of the major Democratic presidential contenders will participate in a forum on gay issues next month, co-sponsored by a major gay rights advocacy group and a cable channel aimed at gays and lesbians.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and Chris Dodd have agreed to appear in the live, one-hour forum in Los Angeles on Aug. 9. The program is the result of a joint effort by the Human Rights Campaign and the LOGO cable channel, which will broadcast the event. LOGO will also stream the forum live on its Web site.

Sen. Joe Biden declined the invitation to appear at the forum, citing scheduling conflicts. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich have not yet said whether they’ll attend.

This is the first time politicians have engaged in an entirely gay debate since Jim McGreevey and Barney Frank argued about what to order on the pizza at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Right now, you just know that each Democrat involved is busy watching every episode of Will & Grace ever made, listening to plenty of showtunes, and furiously jotting down notes in preparation.

My only regret is that this event didn’t occur when Bill Clinton was running, as it would have been the perfect forum for his famous “I tried it once but didn’t inhale” line.

Topics for the Democrats gay debate are expected to include the following:

–Legalizing gay marriage
–Come on Hillary, admit it
–Is turquoise the new pink?
–Gay adoption
–Should John Edwards’ hair be a non-issue, especially with that fine tush?
–How many times can the moderator refer to Chris Dodd as “Mr. Donohue” until Dodd storms off?
–Health care for gay couples
–Why isn’t Joe Biden here? Does he think we’re not worth offending?
–”Cher trivia” lightning round
–Hate crimes against gays: What legislation do you support?
–Who is your favorite member of The Village People, and why?
–Wrapup/Astroglide sponsorship mention

The only question remaining is how many candidates will actually turn gay right there on stage just to get some votes. Oh, and if Kucinich decides to show up and he’s in high heels, don’t misread that — it’ll only be to neutralize height advantages had by the other candidates.


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