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Children of Gay Couples Old Enough to Say They’re Fine, Thank You

February 4, 2011

Several years ago, someone told me, “Gay rights will really move forward once gay couples’ kids can vote.” I agreed with the logic, though of course I hoped it wouldn’t take too long. I’ve since met plenty of children with gay parents who became activists on behalf of their families, and a video of one such young man is making waves throughout the country.

Iowa’s Supreme Court surprised the rest of the country when, citing a history of leadership in civil rights, it ruled in 2009 that same-sex couples there had the right to wed. Anti-gay activists ran a successful campaign to dismiss three of those assenting justices, marking the first time since voting was instituted in ’60s that Supreme Court justices were not reelected.

On Tuesday, those same political forces pushed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage through the Iowa House with a 62-37 vote, according to the Iowa Independent, with three Democrats joining all of their Republican colleagues to pass the measure. It would still need to pass in the state Senate, which looks unlikely, and then pass through both bodies again in two years before it could even go to a general vote.

Those who voted “yes” used arguments like this one from Rep. Rich Anderson (R-Clarinda), as quoted in the Independent:

“If we remove the gender requirement for marriage, there is no rational basis to define the number,” he said. “So we open up the possibility of the constitutional recognition of polygamous relationships. That’s a slippery slope. And I don’t know where the logic is to draw the line. We wouldn’t recognize incestuous relationships between two consenting adult brothers and sisters. That raises up within us disgust, and we can’t accept that. We draw lines. We define marriage.”

Enter Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old college student whose parents are lesbians. Before the House voted, he explained why it would be harmful and how the claims that gay couples can’t raise healthy children are wrong. His words may have fallen on deaf ears in the Iowa House Republicans, but he gave a truly inspiring speech that has rightfully received national attention.

Update: Zach Wahls and his family speak about the aftershocks of his testimony.

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