Iowan Zach Wahls Wins Primary Years After Giving Viral Speech About Marriage Equality

"I hope that tonight is a turning point," Wahls said.

26-year-old Zach Wahls is on the road to becoming Iowa's youngest lawmaker after winning the Democratic nomination for the state's Senate District 37 in Tuesday's primary. 

Wahls, who became nationally known after a speech he made as a teenager in defense of same-sex marriage, won with 59.8 percent of the vote, per the Iowa City Press-Citizen.


"I hope that tonight is a turning point that marks the beginning of rebuilding our state's social foundation," Wahls told the Press-Citizen. "This represents a renewed commitment to a health care system that works for everybody, a tradition of excellence in our public education, and a strong commitment to workers' rights."

He first made headlines in 2011 after giving a passionate speech about marriage equality to the Iowa legislature. Wahls, who was raised by two lesbian moms, argued that the state should not pass a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

"When I gave that speech I was actually studying engineering at the Unversity of Iowa and I was hoping to potentially work in the renewable energy industry," Wahls told A Plus in January. "That speech was definitely a life-altering moment for me, and did help me see that there were going to be many other ways that I could make a contribution or make a difference beyond engineering."

In A Plus' previous interview with Wahls, he spoke often of the importance of coming together and building stronger foundations: for policy, and for every day life. 

"That mentality of 'live and let live' and as long as you're not getting into other people's business, they won't get into yours, is what I'm hearing," Wahls said. "What makes a community is our commitment to each other, and we have to renew that commitment if we want to rebuild that foundation."

In November, Wahls will face Carl Krambeck, a Libertarian candidate. 

Cover image courtesy Zach Wahls campaign.


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