Zach Wahls, the son of a same-sex couple from Iowa, helped shape the national dialogue surrounding same-sex marriage. In 2011, Zach rocketed to national prominence when a video of his testimony to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in his state became the most-watched political video of the year. Since the early 2000’s, the United States of America has witnessed the swift, nearly-unprecedented advance of rights for LGBT people—Zach’s testimony told a powerful story about the importance of empathy, kindness, and the role of love and values in defining family.
He wrote a nationally-bestselling book, My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family, and spoke in prime time at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina—the first person to ever address a major party’s convention because of a viral YouTube video.
Zach, an Eagle Scout, has gone on to lead Scouts for Equality, an organization fighting the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay youth and adults. Under his leadership, Scouts for Equality helped win an end to the BSA’s long-standing ban on gay youth, and the organization continues to battle the ban on gay adults.
He has been featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen Show, The Situation Room, and Newshour. He is currently participating in the Truman-Albright Fellows program and lives in Washington, D.C.
“Zach was picked to be included in Campus Pride’s exclusive “2012 Hot List” featuring
the top 25 most inspiring, enlightening and provocative national speakers and activists.”
“Zach was great. We had a good turnout of students and everyone had positive things to say about him. He was really easy to work with and I would definitely recommend him to speak at other schools.” – Emily Bremmon, University Program Council – South Dakota State University
“Zach is an outstanding speaker with an amazing story to hear…” Twillea Evans-Carthen, Manager, Human Resources Programs
and Employment – California State University/San Bernadino
“Zach was a huge success! Everyone responded to him really well and his speech was such an asset to our conference!” Stephanie Koslowski, Program Assistant, Learning Services – Council of Michigan Foundations
“Excellent! I had a ton of people stop by my office afterwards and say that they wish we would bring him every year.” Lindsay Sparks, Director of Transitions and Student Programming – University of South Dakota
“I was extremely impressed with Zach – first was his YouTube video which brought him notoriety and the invitation to speak at GE, but then again in person Zach was even more impressive. The way he approached a topic that many find to be sensitive was very eye opening and interesting but also very genuine and authentic. It was very uplifting to see the interest that was generated from his visit and the attention that was paid to his message. I hope to hear a lot more of what Zach has to share with us.” Carmen Dolan, General Electric
“Zach was such an inspirational speaker! I’ve heard nothing but great things about the event last night. He was a pleasure to have on campus” Luan Nguyen-Tran, Executive Director of Convocations & Lectures, University of Redlands
“He was WONDERFUL! …Zach is such a fantastic speaker and my favorite part is that he is so relatable to the audience. He obviously has a wonderful story about his family, but I loved when he challenged the audience on what if something they said was video-taped and placed on YouTube, who would it impact? In a time where we struggle with student apathy, I thought that it an awesome way to light a fire.” Lindsay Sparks, Assistant Director of Student Life, University of South Dakota
“Our university president and entire community were most impressed with Zach. He was a tremendous draw for our faculty, staff, and students… We had well over 200 attend.” Ron Ardizzone, PRIDE Advisor, Bentley University
“ Zach was dynamic, approachable, and professional. Both of Zach’s speeches reached the audience in new ways and ended with roaring applause. He made sure he was available after his engagements to meet with people and share more of himself with our campus. Overall, I would say Zach was one of the best speakers we brought to campus this year, and I strongly recommend him for any university, company, or high school.” Danielle Reid, Miami University of Ohio
“Will you please babysit my children?” (Actual quote.) Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
“I think you’re a hero for what you did, Zach.” Ellen DeGeneres
“That was a hell of a speech, kid.” Bill Clinton