Metro Weekly

Democrat who praised his lesbian moms in viral speech wins Iowa Senate primary

Zach Wahls, who went viral in 2011 after championing same-sex parents, won his Senate primary by a wide margin

Photo: Zach Wahls For Iowa

A man who defended his lesbian mothers in a viral 2011 speech given in the Iowa House of Representatives has won a Democratic primary to occupy a seat in the state Senate.

Zach Wahls was a 19-year-old engineering student at the University of Iowa when he gave his speech to prove that gay parents can raise children just as well as straight parents.

The speech went viral, racking up over a million views, and Wahls was invited to speak on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and at the Democratic National Convention.

“Not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple,” Wahls told lawmakers in the video. “And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.”

Now 26, Wahls received 60% of the primary vote to clinch the Democratic nomination for Iowa Senate District 37. He ran against four opponents, and his closest competition received 34.8% of the vote.

Wahls said that he is happy with the results, adding that his district is ready for change.

“I think it’s a sign people here are hungry for new blood in the Iowa Legislature and are ready for the next generation of leadership,” Wahls said on Tuesday, per The Gazette. “It means a lot to me the community is trusting me with that leadership role.”

Iowa City #WomensMarch

A post shared by Zach Wahls (@zachwahls) on

Wahls will now face Libertarian candidate Carl Krambeck, who ran unopposed and admitted that it’s a “long shot” he would claim the historically Democratic seat.

Wahls and Krambeck are looking to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Bob Dvorsky, who is retiring after 30 years. If Wahls wins, he will be one of the youngest people to ever serve in the Iowa Senate.

Wahls continued his advocacy for LGBTQ rights after his viral video. He published a book in 2012 called My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family, and also founded advocacy group Scouts for Equality, which was dedicated to ending discrimination in the Boy Scouts.

Watch his original viral speech below:


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