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