A 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student defended gay marriage in a rousing testimony in front of the Iowa House of Representatives this week. Zack Wahls spoke out against a resolution which would end civil unions in Iowa by describing his own experience as the son of two lesbian partners.
"Our family really isn't so different from any other Iowa family," said Wahls. "When I am home, we go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations."
Wahls emphasized the typical nature of his upbringing, as well as his own success. He is an Eagle Scout and a small business owner. He also scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. "If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I would make you very proud," he said.
A sixth-generation Iowan, Wahls finished his testimony on an impassioned note. "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," he said. "And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character."
Wahls had previously written about the issue in the University of Iowa's student newspaper:
Last fall, I had the opportunity, courtesy of Iowa Public Radio's "The Exchange," to talk with a Tea Partier about this very topic. When I mentioned that two lesbian women raised me, her face turned to shock and then concern. She asked if I ever had yearning to meet my father — an anonymous sperm donor.
My answer was — and remains — "no." And no, I don't feel damaged or that my childhood was somehow scarred. Maybe I have, in some way undetectable to me, been permanently harmed by having two moms. I guess I can't be sure.
The resolution passed in a 62-37 vote.
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