Over the past few days, at least 20 or so Facebook friends have posted a video on their wall titled “Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got.” I anxiously clicked on to see what all the fuss was about and ended up watching a three-minute speech by Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student who was raised by two moms.
Turns out the video was posted on YouTube in February, when Wahls spoke at a public forum to oppose a House Joint Resolution that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. Wahls was praised back then for speaking so eloquently and passionately about a subject so close to his heart, and the video has once again gone viral thanks to Wahls’ Wednesday night appearance on social media site Reddit. (He discussed his experience on the site’s popular “Ask Me Anything” section.)
The video has been such a hit not just because of the topic but also because it’s rare to watch someone so young stand before the senate like that and express his views so matter-of-factly and in such a composed yet totally endearing way. This kid is an amazing public speaker and countless comments on both Facebook and YouTube have fans insisting he run for public office. (Most can hardly believe he’s just 19 years old.)
Wahls, now 20, tells how both he and his younger sister were conceived via the same anonymous sperm donor, and how his mothers legally wed in 2009 after the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
“I guess the point is our family really isn’t so different from any other Iowa family,” he tells the legislative panel. “We go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations. But, you know, we have our hard times too.”
Wahls then goes on to say that as a student at the University of Iowa, the topic of same sex marriages comes up often in classroom discussions. He explains:
“The question always comes down to, well, ‘Can gays even raise kids?'” he says. “The conversation gets quiet for a moment because most people don’t really have any answer. And then I raise my hand and say, ‘Actually, I was raised by a gay couple, and I’m doing pretty well.’
I scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. I’m actually an Eagle Scout. I own and operate my own small business. If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I’d make you very proud.”
The most powerful part is towards the end, when Wahls says many people believe that having gay parents is damaging on kids. “But 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 says. “And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.”
Check out the video below and see for yourself how persuasive, likable and well-spoken Wahls is. According to reports, he’s busy working on a book tentatively titled “My Two Moms: Everything I Needed to Know About Gay Marriage I Learned in Boy Scouts.”