Charlotte, NC —
Zach Wahls, the University of Iowa student with two moms who rocketed to online stardom in 2011 when he defended his family at an Iowa House hearing, delivered a moving speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.
"Governor Romney says he's against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine," Wahls said to thunderous applause Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.
Wahls, then 19, spoke about the strength of his two-mom family at a hearing considering a proposed measure that would repeal Iowa's gay marriage law by defining marriage as a heterosexual union in the Iowa Constitution. The measure failed, but a video of Wahl's three-minute testimony went viral turning him into an overnight gay rights advocate.
Wahls, now 21, authored a memoir about his family titled My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family. He also co-founded Scouts for Equality, an organization opposing the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies.
The Iowa City native was invited to take the stage at the DNC on Thursday, the same day that President Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination for a second term.
The following is the prepared text of Zach Wahls' speech to the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6:
I'm a sixth-generation Iowan, an Eagle Scout, and I was raised by my two moms, Jackie and Terry.
People want to know what it's like having lesbian parents. I'll let you in on a secret: I'm awesome at putting the seat down. Otherwise, we're like any other family. We eat dinner, we go to church, we have chores. But some people don't see it that way. When I was 12, watching the 2004 Republican convention, I remember politicians talking about protecting marriage from families like mine.
Now, supporting a view of marriage as between a man and woman isn't radical. For many people, it's a matter of faith. We respect that. Watching that convention on TV, though I felt confused, frustrated. Why didn't they think my family was a real family?
Governor Romney says he's against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because 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. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.
President Obama understands that. He supports my moms' marriage. President Obama put his political future on the line to do what was right. Without his leadership, we wouldn't be here. President Obama is fighting for our families... all of our families. He has our backs. We have his.