Openly gay Illinois Senate candidate Jacob Meister was excluded from a Wednesday night Democratic debate broadcast on Chicago PBS affiliate WTTW, reported.

Meister is campaigning to fill the seat vacated by President Obama. Senator Roland Burris, a Governor Blagojevich appointee, has stepped aside. Four additional candidates are vying in the February 2 Democratic primary.

Meister campaign officials called the exclusion a decision based solely on sexual orientation and have asked for a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission.

“The only fact, which appears to distinguish Mr. Meister from any of the other Democratic Party candidates, is that Mr. Meister is gay,” attorney David Axelrod said.

Axelrod, who shares no relation to the Democratic advisor of the same name, said as a public entity WTTW shares a “legal and moral responsibility to provide the citizenry with an unbiased point of view.”

“WTTW's decision to exclude me isn't based on any reasonable or accurate standard, whether in a court of law or the court of public opinion,” Meister said. “My inclusion is about access. It is about fairness and the right of every Illinois voter to be given the opportunity to choose the candidate who he or she believes is best suited to hold the office of United States senator.”

Meister has previously participated in debates sponsored by various civic organizations, the website reported.