Iowa Teen’s Gay-Marriage Speech Leads to Social-Media Celebrity

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“Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got.” If you’ve been on Facebook during the last few days, you might have seen this headline, which has been shared over one million times (as of this writing) since it was posted Wednesday on MoveOn.org.

The link’s accompanying video isn’t new. It shows 19-year-old Zach Wahls as he stood before an Iowa legislative panel in February, eloquently arguing against a state amendment that would have made gay marriage illegal by sharing his own experience of being raised by two moms.

After highlighting his impressive credentials for the panel — Eagle Scout, engineering student at the University of Iowa, all-around great guy (and all-American handsome to boot) — Wahls swiftly answered the question of whether or not a gay couple can successfully raise a child. “I was raised by a gay couple, and I’m doing pretty well,” Wahls said, adding, “If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I think that I would make you incredibly proud.”

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Wahls’ fierce defense of his upbringing, along with his earnest argument about what truly defines a family, made him an instant Internet sensation. His declaration that, “Our family really isn’t so different than any other Iowa family” resonated with gay-rights advocates and opponents alike, and brought a national discussion of marriage equality to the forefront once again.

On Wednesday, Wahls resurfaced on the “Ask Me Anything” section of Reddit, where he took questions about his experience both as the son of a lesbian couple and as a bona fide Internet sensation. Just the reappearance of Wahls on the Internet made his popularity skyrocket, as the above video once again began to circulate through social media.

In the witty Reddit chat, Wahls not only mentions that he’s working on a book — tentatively titled My Two Moms: Everything I Needed to Know About Gay Marriage I Learned in Boy Scouts — but also that he was spurred to speak before the Iowa legislature because the “string of suicides by gay and lesbian kids,” which had happened right before his speech, served as “a huge wake-up call.”

Just don’t expect to see him running for office anytime soon. Wahls mentions that he would rather work for a politician than be one, and also pointed out the downsides to his time in the spotlight — “Turns out ‘Internet famous’ isn’t actually good at generating a relationship,” he wrote.

But there is one big thing that he can add to his list of accomplishments. In part because of the media attention surrounding his speech, the amendment Wahls spoke against failed to pass. And according to the Washington Post, the Iowa House has no intentions of revisiting the issue again.

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