Story to Watch: Washington State to Revisit Marriage Equality Debate in 2012

Washington State Rep. Jim Moeller (D-Vancouver) announced Thursday that he and a group of other Democratic legislators, along with a coalition of LGBT and civil liberties groups, will be advocating for marriage equality in the state next year. The coalition, which is calling itself Washington United for Marriage, is kicking off the campaign this week with a number of community meetings in towns around the state, focusing its efforts on gaining support outside of the already LGBT-friendly Seattle area.

While members of the coalition said they are confident they will be able to pass the bill in the House, they noted that they do not yet think they have the support they need in the Senate.

"I believe 2012 is the best chance we've ever had to make marriage equality a reality,” State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), another leader in the marriage effort, told the Seattle Times.

When reporting on this story, it is important for journalists to remember the purpose of the proposed legislation — to strengthen the legal protections for loving families led by LGBT couples. In previous attempts to legally recognize LGBT relationships in Washington, anti-gay activists have made claims that they are ‘under attack’ by supporters of LGBT equality. They have even gone to court to keep the names of people who signed a petition against domestic partnerships private. These tactics attempt to distract people from the real issue at hand and add nothing to the conversation about marriage equality. GLAAD encourages journalists to be responsible in dealing with this issue by focusing their coverage on the committed, loving, and stable LGBT couples this proposed legislation would actually affect.

GLAAD also asks its constituents to keep an eye out for these distracting anti-gay tactics in coverage of the Washington campaign for marriage equality. Please report any inaccurate or irresponsible coverage here.