Zach Wahls was outraged when Iowa’s state legislature began to consider an amendment to the state constitution that would not only define marriage as between one man and one woman, but would also close the door to civil unions. Raised to speak up when those in power were wrong, Wahls drove to Des Moines and testified before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. The video of the Iowa native’s passionate, compelling, and well-reasoned defense of his two moms and his family became YouTube’s most-watched political video of 2011.
In My Two Moms, Wahls (with Bruce Littlefield) tells the story of how he became the man who could stand up and challenge those in power. It begins with one mom, Terry. To become pregnant she had to fight the biases against not only single moms, but single lesbian moms. It continues with Jackie, whose love for her family has stood solid through every hellacious trial. These two smart, hardworking women raised their children to have strong family and community values through two decades of dinner-table conversations about right, wrong, and shades of gray.
These values supported Wahls well. Throughout his childhood, Wahls knew that having two moms made him different from other children. These differences made him nervous. What would people think? What would people do? One very affirming teacher gave him the safe space he needed to realize he had no choice but to speak up against injustice. Anxious as he was about “outing” himself, he wrote a high school newspaper editorial against the mindless use of gay-hating speech heard in every high school every day. He found his voice, and began to find ways to tell people that “the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Terry and Jackie have much to be proud of. Happy Mother’s Day.
Angel Curtis is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.