Zach Wahls

Zach Wahls was on the Jon Stewart show last night speaking about his new book “My Two Moms.” (See a clip of his interview-at the end of the video-here) Now, I admit I am a little partial toward this guy for very biased reasons. 1. He is an Iowan (Go Iowa!!!). 2. He is a Hawkeye. (Love my Hawks!) But the most important reason: He stood up for equality in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in 2011 and has been positively contributing to the conversation on marriage equality ever since.


Zach Wahls speech to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in 2011

Zach was raised by two women. These two women are gay. When Iowa legislators pushed to write discrimination into law by defining marriage as between one man and one woman after gay marriage was legalized in Iowa, Zach Wahls stood up in court to defend his Moms’ rights to be married by law. Addressing how kids raised by gay parents are perceived to be at a disadvantage, Wahls illustrated very clearly how these concerns were illegitimate and unfounded. He is an Engineering student at the University of Iowa (a very tough program), he was an Eagle scout, and he scored in the 99th percentile on his ACTs. By all accounts he is a kind and wonderful person with great values and a good heart. He is definitely one hell of a public speaker. I’d say he’s turned out pretty good – better than many kids who were products of heterosexual parenting households.

Wahls wrote a book to tell the story of how “boring” his upbringing was despite being raised by two women. (Great idea, no?) I haven’t bought his book yet, but reading the preview pages on Amazon gave me chills. His speech in 2011 has repeatedly brought tears to my eyes, so I have no doubt this book will do the same.

You might not agree with my perspective, but nevertheless I hope you will watch these videos, buy his book, check out his website, and -if so inclined-support him on his journey to help the families affected by discriminatory legislation. These people deserve the legal protections (some 1200 of them) that heterosexual couples like myself have. I hope you will agree with me.


Zach Wahls on Ellen after his heartfelt speech to the Iowa legislature.

 

The civil rights issue of the 21st century

I don’t usually weigh in on political stuff that is hugely controversial, but sometimes I don’t see any way around it.

New York legalized gay marriage in June. I was back in Iowa, which also legalized gay marriage a few years ago. As a former resident of one state, and a current resident of the other I must say I am doubly proud. You may not agree with this decision by the states legislatures, but I say, “It’s about time.”

See, here’s the thing: I just don’t think it’s right to tell someone who is a good person that they can’t have the same rights as me. Civil unions (the preferred option for some anti-gay marriage people) remind me of the whole “separate but equal” thing. It makes me very uncomfortable (Jim Crow, anyone?). As a matter of fact, it makes me angry.

People must have forgotten that old phrase, “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”

I don’t know about you, but I like the legal right to see my husband in the hospital when he is sick, to make choices about his care when needed, and to have the same federal and state tax privileges as other married people. Lucky for me I guess that I’m heterosexual.

People argue marriage is religious. Well, that is true some of the time. But I didn’t get married in church and the state still calls me “married.” They still issued me a “marriage license.” There was no check box that verified it was a religious ceremony. Religion was not even a question. So obviously the word “marriage” doesn’t just apply to church-goers where the state is concerned. A church can refuse to marry gay people, just as the Catholic church would refuse to marry me to my non-Catholic husband (if I had wanted the religious blessing, that is). It’s their right as a religious body. And those rights were given extra-protection when the New York legislature passed the law. So what’s the fuss?

The way I see it, New York and Iowa were doing the right thing in the eye of the law: equal civil rights for all. And since the word “marriage” is tied so inextricably with our law system maybe we could rely on that nifty American notion “separation of church and state” and let these wonderful gay people have their wedding days sanctioned by state (and someday federal) law. Shoot, it would boost the economy. It would make many, many people much happier – including myself. And simply put, it is the right thing to do.

And now, one of my favorite videos in favor of the fight to legalize gay marriage–

Oh, and P.S. Thank you to the four New York Republican legislators who did the right thing in the face of their party’s objections: Senator Jim Alesi, Senator Roy McDonald, Senator Stephen Saland, and Senator Mark Grisanti. Personal opinion: you are on the right side of history, gentlemen.