QUEER VOICES
12/26/2017 11:25 am ET Updated Dec 27, 2017

Zach Wahls, Who Defended His 2 Moms In Viral Video, Is Running For Office

The LGBTQ rights advocate will seek a seat in the Iowa state Senate.

Zach Wahls, an Iowa man who famously defended same-sex marriage in a 2011 speech that went viral, is running for public office. 

Wahls, 26, announced his bid for the Iowa state Senate on Dec. 21. The Iowa City native will seek the 37th District Senate seat held by Democrat Bob Dvorsky, who is not seeking re-election in 2018.

“It’s been difficult watching Republicans hollow out Iowa’s social foundation,” Wahls told the Iowa City Press-Citizen last week. “To me, it seems like we’re really at a crossroads between a situation where it’s every man, woman and child for him or herself and getting back to the morals that have defined this state.” 

In a series of tweets last week, Wahls explained his decision to run.

He’ll reportedly be challenged by at least one other Democrat, retired diplomat Janice Weiner, in the primary.

Wahls gained widespread attention six years ago when he defended same-sex marriage before the Iowa House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. In a three-minute speech, he spoke about his experience of being raised by two mothers. 

“Not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple,” Wahls, who was then a 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student, said in the speech, which can be viewed below. “And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.”

Footage of Wahls’ speech went viral, becoming YouTube’s most-watched political video of 2011. It’s since been viewed more than 19 million times. 

The success of the speech helped establish Wahls, who is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as an LGBTQ rights advocate. 

In 2012, he published a book, My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family. Wahls, an Eagle Scout, also co-founded Scouts for Equality, an advocacy group that worked to end the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on LGBTQ members, that same year. 

It sounds like LGBTQ rights will remain a part of his platform moving forward. 

As it turns out, Dec. 21 reportedly held special significance for Wahls’ moms, Jackie Reger and Terry Wahls. The date marked the 21st anniversary of their commitment ceremony. 

Editor’s Note: Wahls is dating a HuffPost editor who was not involved in the reporting or editing of this story.

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