February 18, 2013 12:00AM
When Zach Wahls spoke to Iowa legislators in 2011, it was to tell a personal story that he hoped would influence their thinking on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa. His speech thrust him on the national stage and today he is one of the most recognizable faces in the movement for marriage equality.
Wahls will share his remarkable story, “My Two Moms,” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, in McCray Hall on the Pittsburg State University campus. His speech is free and open to the public.
When Wahls spoke to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in 2011, he was just 19. An environmental engineering student, an Eagle Scout, handsome and athletic, he defied the stereotype of a gay marriage advocate. But Wahls has two moms. His message to the legislators was simple:
“The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character,” he said.
Within hours, his speech to the lawmakers was posted on YouTube and quickly had more than 2 million views. Today, he is in high demand as a speaker on the issue of marriage equality.
For his Pittsburg visit, Wahls will talk about his life since his address to Iowa legislators, his family and also what it is like to feel different and to fear being made fun of or worse.