Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zach Wahls testimony at Iowa House hearing was top political video of 2011 says Google

With 18,000,000 views, Zack Wahl's testimony during the Iowa House Joint Resolution 6 hearings was the YouTube's top political video of 2011, according to Google, YouTube's owner.

Here is AKSARBENT's repost about last January's hearing, followed by the transcript of Wahls' testimony.

Iowa Republicans Kim Pearson (l) and Glen Massie flatly
refused to answer Rep. Nathan Willems' questions about HJR 6.
After the formality of last night's HJR 6 hearing, Iowa House Republicans bulldozed the measure through the General Assembly today, five hours earlier than scheduled (because of the snowstorm, they said.) Republicans own 60% of the 100-member Iowa house, and all of them except one absentee voted for HJR 6, which would put to a popular vote an amendment to the U.S.'s least-amended state constitution that would deny marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships to gay couples. Three Democrats defected to the Republican side: Dan Muhlbauer, Brian Quirk and Kurt Swaim. Every other Democrat voted no. The Iowa Independent took note of the following:
Two outspoken opponents of marriage equity — Republican state Reps. Glen Massie of Des Moines and Rep. Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill — took the highly unusual step of refusing to answer questions in defense of the constitutional amendment when requested by Democratic state Rep. Nathan Willems of Lisbon.
Considering the quick evisceration that Willems gave Rep. Erik Helland (here), they were probably smart to duck his questions. It's all the more rich when you consider that Helland is a lawyer and Willems isn't.

Here is Zach Wahls, 19, defending his two moms and his family during Monday's HJR 6 hearing from the political assault brought by Iowa Republicans, the national anti-gay-for-pay industry, and Danny Carroll of Iowa's so-called Family Leader. We have Tim Gill to thank for the fact that Danny Carroll is no longer in the Iowa Legislature.

Testimony of Zack Wahls to Iowa HJR hearing, 1/31/11:
Good evening Mr. Chairman. My name is Zach Wahls. I'm a sixth-generation Iowan and an engineering student at the University of Iowa and I was raised by two women.

My biological mom, Terry, told her grandparents that she was pregnant, that the artificial insemination had worked, and they wouldn't even acknowledge it.

It wasn't until I was born and they succumbed to my infantile cuteness that they broke down and told her that they were thrilled to have another grandson.

Unfortunately, neither of them lived to see her marry her partner Jackie of 15 years when they wed in 2009.

My younger sister and only sibling was born in 1994. We actually have the same anonymous donor so we're full siblings, which is really cool for me.

I guess the point is our family really isn't so different from any other Iowa family. You know, when I'm home we go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations. But, you know, we have our hard times too, we get in fights...

Actually my mom, Terry was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000. It is a devastating disease that put her in a wheelchair. So we've had our struggles.

But, you know, we're Iowans. We don't expect anyone to solve our problems for us. We'll fight our own battles. We just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government.

Being a student at the University of Iowa, the topic of same sex marriage comes up quite frequently in classroom discussions... The question always comes down to, well, "Can gays even raise kids?"

...The conversation gets quiet for a moment because most people don't really have any answer. And then I raise my hand and say, "Actually, I was raised by a gay couple, and I'm doing pretty well."

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'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. That's what makes a family.

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 codify discrimination into our constitution, a constitution that but for the proposed amendment, is the least amended constitution in the United States of America.

You are telling Iowans that some among you are second-class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love.

So will this vote affect my family?

Would it affect yours?

In the next two hours I'm sure we're going to hear plenty of testimony about how damaging having gay parents is on kids.

But in my 19 years, not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple.

And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.

Thank you very much.

1 comment:

  1. Here’s our interview with Zach about how his life has changed after this speech thrust him into the public eye, what it was like growing up with two mothers, what led him to decide to go and speak before the House of Representatives, and what other young people can do to fight for equality and speak out against intolerance.