Zach Wahls, who defended his lesbian moms’ right to marry, reflects on political victory

By Reynaldo Leanos, Jr.

Zach Wahls was 19 when he went viral on Youtube in 2011. In his three-minute video, which garnered more than 3 million views since it was first posted, Wahls stood in front of the Iowa House of Representatives to defend his lesbian moms’ right to marry.

“My family really isn’t so different from yours,” Wahls, a University of Iowa student at the time, said in his speech opposing a resolution that sought to ban same-sex marriage in the state. “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 that we can enjoy the good ones.”

Now, nearly eight years later, the 27-year-old Wahls is fresh off a victory for a seat in the Iowa State Senate, where he defeated his Libertarian opponent by more than 50 percentage points. The senator-elect, one of the youngest in the state, said he’s humbled to have been elected by those in his community.

“It sends a pretty powerful message of how far and how fast families like mine, that have one or more LGBT parents, have come in America,” Wahls told NBC News on Monday.

His desire to run for elected office was driven by a motivation not dissimilar to the one that compelled him to stand up for his moms’ right to marry each other.

“It was more than anything else about standing up and doing the right thing, and obviously our politics can use more of that,” Wahls said.


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