Reflection on a Five Year Anniversary

The video of Zach Wahls speaking at that 2011 public hearing went viral and inspired thousands of Iowans who supported equality. Although Zach did not dissuade Iowa House Republicans from approving a state constitutional amendment on marriage the following day, Democrats in control of the Iowa Senate held the line. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Yesterday (January 31) marked the fifth anniversary of a three-minute speech that I delivered to the Iowa Legislature about growing up with gay parents. It was the first time I’ve celebrated an anniversary of this speech knowing that no speech like it will ever have to be given again in this state or country, following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling.

I had no idea when I stepped up to that microphone just how much the world would change in the next five years.

A few things that have happened since then:

  • Iowa maintained marriage equality
  • The sitting President of the United States endorsed same-sex marriage
  • The Democratic Party put marriage equality in its 2012 platform
  • The Boy Scouts of America ended its ban on gay youth in 2013
  • The BSA ended its blanket ban on gay adults in 2015
  • SCOTUS recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in 2015
  • Every single Democratic candidate for President in 2016 supports marriage equality (Even Jim Webb!)
  • Freedom to Marry—the visionary group that helped lead the charge for marriage equality—has closed up shop
  • And on a more somber note, Maynard Boatwright, the House sergeant-at-arms who is sitting in the photo with his hand on his chin, died in 2013. I was told by a mutual friend that he was a supporter of LGBT rights.

    The last five years have flown by. The opportunities afforded to me by that speech have fundamentally altered my life, and I am thankful every single day for the ability to do this work. I plan to continue to pay it forward and do my best with the opportunity you all have given me.

    As always, thank you.

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