“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. . .You are voting for the first time in the history of our state to codifiy discrimination into our Constitution. . . . So will this vote effect my family – will it effect yours?” – Zach Wahls
I first watched and shared this YouTube video on February 1st. Now it appears that over 1 Million people have had the opportunity to hear 19 year old Zach Wahls of Iowa speak on behalf of his family and in defense of equal marriage/civil unions, which the Iowa State Legislature is voting to make illegal.** In his words, “Our family really isn’t so different than any other Iowa family . . . we’ve had our struggles, but we are Iowans, we don’t expect anyone to to solve our problems for us we’ll fight our own battles – we just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government.”
When I first heard Zach’s speech, I was immediately taken aback by how articulate and moving his words were. He made the kind of speech that doesn’t attack or defend, but is simply truth to its core. He even calls out the Republican Chairman (my favorite line of the whole speech):
“I scored in the 99 percentile on the ACT, I am 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. 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, thats what makes a family.”
Zach, you are not a leader in the making — you are a leader today. Millenials & GenY are unique in that we were brought up in a truly integrated society where diversity of race and sexual orientation are commonplace and socio-economic status is a greater concern. Young people like Barbara Bush and Meagan McCain are making waves in the Republican Party by standing up in favor of same-sex marriage, but we need more young people in decision making positions to really make waves. You are a rational and true voice that Iowan’s and this country need. I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent – you should run for elected office. We need more public servants, like you, who have integrity, are genuine and speak out in support equal treatment of all citizens.
I’d be happy to put you in touch with some great people involved with the Young Democrats of America and the New Leaders Council, an organization dedicated to training progressive young leaders across the country.
**House Joint Resolution 6 would not only make same-sex marriage illegal, but also deny state recognition to civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Lawmakers voted 62 to 37 in favor of the resolution, which now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, said he will block a vote.