UPDATE: Sure enough Zach’s speech went viral…
Yesterday Iowa’s House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the matter of terminating legalized gay marriage in the state through a constitutional amendment. If it passes Iowa will join over half the states in the U.S. including Oregon with constitutional amendments explicitly designed to discriminate against gay families.
Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during that public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives.
Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.
And here’s today’s Headline response from the Iowa Legislator: House Passes Proposal Suggesting Amendment to Outlaw Same-Sex Marriage
House Joint Resolution 6 was passed by a margin of 62-37. Though the decision by the House passed with a substantial majority of the vote.
And as Representative Gene Forristall, a Republican from Macedonia, explains it some groups of people are just exempt from that whole ‘rights’ thing anyways:
“This is not about taking away rights. This is about whether rights exist.”
Well, I am as disturbed by this statement as I am inspired by the testimony of Zach. I mean, this is a 19-year-old student testifying as to how his human worth is regularly brought into question in these civil public debates.
He makes it kinda hard to deny his humanity.
So I wont close with Forristall’s remarks and the absurd democratic reality we are living within in which we continue to place the rights of minorities up for popular votes…
I’d rather leave you with some of the words of Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell of Ames in her opening remarks from today’s legislative session:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen of the House. Thank you to the body for the public hearing and letting us listen to great stories and passions on both sides. Even though the idea of marriage equality may be upsetting to some, we need to remember that family and commitment is an important value to all Iowans. Marriage says “We’re a family” like nothing else.
The Varnum decision quoted the American Psychological Association: “There is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: Lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for children.”
Last night, Zach Wahls, a young man raised by two women made that statement real for us. As a matter of fact, we should be asking Zach’s mothers for parenting advice. Some of Iowa’s best and award-winning foster parents are gay men and women. A story we did not hear yesterday was about 2 women from Ames who committed to each other in 1996. Last year they adopted 4 siblings who came from a life of horror. These women married and celebrated the adoption in the same ceremony. Every night, when they put these four children to bed they ask them: “Do you remember you are safe, special and loved?” No child hopes for a better home.
and I’ll close with this nugget from Rep. Wessel-Kroeschell…
NEVER have we taken away a right in the Constitution. NEVER. We have added and expanded rights…we have never removed rights.
The full text of her statement is here.
My deep respect goes out to Zach and his family tonight.
I hope his everyman moment in the spotlight goes viral.
HT Lez Get Real