Nineteen-year-old Zach Wahls was one of the hundreds of people who testified Tuesday during an Iowa House hearing on a proposed gay marriage ban.

The University of Iowa student's two mothers married after the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2009.

If approved by lawmakers and voters in 2013, the Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA) would ban gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any government recognition of gay and lesbian couples in the state.

“If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I would make you very proud,” Wahls confidently testified.

“I'm not really so different from any of your children. My family really isn't so different from yours. After all, your family doesn't derive its sense of worth from being told by the state, 'You're married, congratulations!'”

“No, the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other. To work through the hard times, so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us. That's what makes a family.”

“So what you're voting here isn't to change us. It's not to change our families. It's to change how the law views us. How the law treats us,” he added.

Wahls also touched on the argument raised by opponents of marriage equality that gay parenting damages children.

“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. And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero affect on the content of my character.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Wahls' pleas to lawmakers, however, went largely unheard. Three Democrats joined 59 Republicans in voting in favor of the resolution later in the day.