I’m sure many of you have seen this link being shared all over Facebook for the last few days.
Many of us probably thought that this video was related to current events. Afterall, Facebook is how most of us get our news updates these days. It wasn’t until I did some more research that I found out this video was created nearly a year ago. The speaker, Zach Wahls, spoke in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee on January 31, 2011. Zach delivered a moving speech regarding the marriage rights of same sex couple. Unfortunately, his pro-gay marriage speech did not sway the Iowa House, as he wrote of his webpage: “Ultimately, my testimony failed to have the impact I was hoping for. The Iowa House approved House Joint Resolution Six on a 62-27 vote, although it appears unlikely to clear the Iowa Senate.”
I am not blogging about his testimony because of its current relevance but because it is proof that each one of us has the ability to enact change. While his speech may not have changed laws, it still made a significant impact. Those individuals present at the public hearing in January were the only people to hear Zach’s initial speech. Since then, his message has received international acknowledgement and has landed him interviews with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Lawrence O’Donnell. On YouTube alone, his video has accumulated over 5 million hits; not to mention the exposure his testimony received when broadcasted natioanally by news organizations such as CNN and Good Morning America.
Like Zach, we should make the effort to use our voice for love, not hate and for good, not evil. Hate has been at the root of numerous acts of murder, suicide, bullying, and discrimination- like that proposed by this bill- for far too long. It is my opinion that hate and discrimination stem from ignorance. It is far easier to write-off what you don’t know or what you don’t understand. This average 19-year-old made it obvious to millions of people how ordinary families and members of the gay community truly are. He made his life understandable for those looking from the outside in. As he concluded his speech Wahl’s stated, “not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple… because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” Moreover, the orientation of a person has zero effect on their value to society and their right to happiness and equality.
Readers, if you take nothing else from my post this week, take this: To stop trying to define what is normal is to realize that our differences are what make each of us beautiful and all the more human.
Well that concludes my rambling for the week. Use your voice wisely.
P.S. Because I enjoy tagging random music videos to my posts every now and then, here is a song for your listening pleasure.