Do kids who grow up with gay parents have a different
childhood than those who are raised by both a mother and a father? Not
according to 19-year old Zach Wahls, a student who addressed Iowa's House of
Representatives this year. Wahls, the son of a lesbian couple, gave testimony
against the proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment that would repeal marriage
equality in his home state.
Families, whether centered around homosexual parents or heterosexual parents, Wahls says, derive their worth from the commitment they make to support each other, to work through tough times, and enjoy the good stuff together. The love that binds each person, the student asserts, is what defines a family, and state legislation won't change that.
When the topic of whether gay couples can even raise kids comes up in his college classes, which the student says happens frequently, Wahls adds his experience to the conversation openly.
Wahls recounted for the House what he shares with fellow students during these debates: "Actually, I was raised by a gay couple, and I'm doing pretty well."
He goes on to say that he is so "normal" that no one who has not met his parents has ever guessed he was raised by two women.
And if people watching or legislators aren't convinced of how "normal" being raised by a same-sex couple can be for a kid, Wahls lists the successes he knows he will be judged by. "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 would make you very proud," he said pointedly.
While Wahls testifies that this amendment won't change how families parented by same-sex couples define themselves, the laws can make a radical and fair statement about how to protect and serve those citizens.
"The struggle for marriage equality isn't over when you achieve it. We still have a long ways to go," Wahls told the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier after speaking at local high schools.
MoveOn.org has been promoting the video of Zach Wahls' speech, which is why it is suddenly filling up news feeds and status updates. Watch him speak here.
What do you think of Zach Wahls' testimony?