A clip of a young Iowa man's plea for marriage rights for his lesbian parents drew 18.3 million views to become the most-watched political video of the year, according to YouTube's ranking of viral political videos.
Zach Wahls, a student at the University of Iowa, stood before the panel to describe growing up as the son of two women. A handsome Eagle Scout, Wahls described a childhood similar to that of other Iowa families.
"In my 19 years not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple," Wahls told the committee. "And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character."
Iowa's state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in April 2009. The proposed amendment would have revoked marriage rights.
The Iowa House passed the amendment despite Wahls' plea. But state Senate leaders decided against bringing up the matter, effectively killing it for the time being. Many gay rights activists credited the Wahls video for helping draw attention to the issue.