Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm glad this gay rights video went viral

About a year ago I criticized a video praising a teacher who punished a student for calmly expressing his rejection of gay rights during a class discussion. The video went viral as a celebration of gay rights, but I found it was unworthy as it championed an attack on free speech, no matter how well-intended.

Yesterday a friend posted a video titled "Zach Wahls Speaks About Family" where an accomplished college student from Iowa talks about his success after being raised by two women before the state legislature on a gay marriage vote.

I'm happy to say that the video has since gone viral, despite being available online since February.

Wahls defended the structure of his family and argued something I've only heard one place before, that gay marriage already exists, the legislation is just to get the government to admit it's there.

He said:

My family really isn’t so different from yours. After all, your family doesn’t derive its sense of worth from being told by the state: “You’re married. Congratulations.” No.

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.

So what you’re voting here isn’t to change us. It’s not to change our families, it’s to change how the law views us; how the law treats us.
Two years ago I wrote on this blog:
With those two points in mind, we need to make sure our laws coincide with reality. Right now in Maine there are thousands of romance stories between people of the same gender that will be here on Nov. 4 no matter what the outcome.

In social circles, gay marriage already exists in Maine - it just hasn't been legally certified... The only difference is Augusta currently doesn't admit these romances exist, and the legal rights and responsibilities that come with marriage are not automatically included.
Congratulations to Mr. Wahls. His important message deserves to be heard by as many people as possible, and I'm glad to see that it's spreading. This is exactly the sort of message that should spread.


  1. Mhm. Mr. Wahls, in using the argument that the relationships are already there, is also trying to convince the right people: Conservatives who might be skeptical of gay marriages.

    Too many liberals try to argue for gay marriage with liberal arguments, which made sense in 2000 when most liberals were skeptical of gay marriage. Now the debate over the legal recognition of gay marriage is largely settled among liberals. The final debate is between conservatives, so it makes sense to speak our language.

  2. Here’s our interview with Zach where he talks about what it was like growing up with two mothers, what led him to decide to go and speak before the House of Representatives, how his life has changed after this speech thrust him into the public eye, and what other young people can do to fight for equality and speak out against intolerance.

  3. You're absolutely right Hortensio, I've felt the same way for a long time. They're mostly preaching to the choir and they need to engage the people who can be swayed, instead of just reminding their supporters.