Zach Wahls, a University of Iowa engineering student, a small business owner, an Eagle Scout and the son of a same-sex couple, addressed the Iowa legislature this week in defense of same-sex marriage and the video has gone viral, becoming an Internet hit.
Wahls began his three-minute speech to Iowa state lawmakers, at Monday's public hearing, by saying, "I'm a sixth-generation Iowan and an engineering student at the University of Iowa, and I was raised by two women." He continues speaking of his upbringing and home life by stating "it "isn't so different than any other Iowa family."
Wahls, who says he scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT college aptitude test, goes on to say: "If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I'd make you very proud."
BoingBoing reports "Wahls is one of the many Iowans who thinks it's wrong to grant special privileges to some families, and deny them to others, based solely on sexual orientation. In his speech to the House Committee, he told legislators that their decision won't change his family and their love for one another, but codifying discrimination will change Iowa—in ways that harm everyone."
"Wahls passionate plea to lawmakers to reject a resolution that would prohibit same-sex marriage is turning the Iowa teenager into an Internet sensation, said the Des Moines Register. He was scheduled to appear last night on MSNBC.
The Des Moines Register reported that Wahls wrote a guest editorial for the newspaper in 2009 while a senior at Iowa City West High School. The full editorial can be read here, it begins:
"As the son of a same-sex couple in Iowa, one of the first test-tube babies of a lesbian mother nationwide, I was elated Friday to learn that the Iowa Supreme Court had unanimously struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Iowa."
Wahls said he "I am living proof that one can be raised by a same-sex couple, and a couple plagued by the grueling trials of progressive multiple sclerosis at that, and still turn out all right. I have experienced success in speech and debate, journalism and academics, am politically involved in my community and have received acceptance to prestigious colleges across the country."
Same-sex parents are not, by definition, unfit to parent, and same-sex families are not, by definition, any more troubled than “regular” families, adds Wahls, who said he had positive male role models in his life who have been outstanding examples of his own behaviour.
While Wahls' 2009 editorial and passionate speech have been uplifting testimony from the heart of a child raised by two mothers, the Iowa House of Representatives has let many people down by approving a resolution on Tuesday that proposes a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The resolution known as "House Joint Resolution 6 passed by a 62-37 vote, according to AOL News.
Passport Magazine said, " the University of Iowa student spoke with such resolution and convincing dictation, you'd have to be a complete bigot to feel that same-sex marriage is damaging."