Seven years ago, Zach Wahls went viral for delivering a passionate speech defending his lesbian moms in front of the Iowa House of Representatives. He was virtually unknown in 2011 when he spoke out in support of same-sex marriage and used his mom’s loving relationship as a personal example. Now, in a significant victory over his opponent, Carl Krambeck, a Libertarian, Wahls is a state lawmaker.
Wahls, a Democrat, won 78 percent of the vote in Iowa Senate District 25. (No Republican ran in this race.)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wahls is still passionate about LGBTQ rights, but he also campaigned on promises of gun control, improved workers’ rights, better education, and affordable health care.
Even though marriage equality is now the law of the land, his speech about his moms is still heartwarming:
For video context, Wahls was speaking at a public forum at the Iowa House of Representatives. They were discussing House Joint Resolution 6, which would have (essentially) ended civil unions in Iowa. He was just a 19-year-old student at the University of Iowa at the time.
Now, at 27, Wahls will be one of the youngest people to ever serve in the Iowa Senate. And people are thrilled and inspired:
I don't think younger queer people fully get how much has changed on LGBTQ issues, and how fast. I remember this speech. I cried. I would never in a million years have dreamed that seven years later gay marriage would be the law of the land, and @ZachWahls a state senator. https://t.co/lKgM84aFHI
— Abby Spice (@clapifyoulikeme) November 7, 2018
You met Zach Wahls as the Eagle Scout with two moms who, still a teenager, testified for marriage equality to the Iowa state legislature. Tonight, just now, he became an Iowa State Senator himself. Congrats, @ZachWahls. You've done us proud. pic.twitter.com/7WTWqXkAXI
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) November 7, 2018
Some people consider Wahls to be part of a “rainbow” wave of LGBTQ people being elected into office, including Sharice Davids, the second openly lesbian woman in Congress, Tammy Baldwin, who was the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, being reelected in Wisconsin, and Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be governor in the country. Wahls does not openly identify as LGBT, but he is without a doubt an ally and an advocate.