Man who defended same-sex marriage in viral video wins Dem primary for state Senate

An Iowa man whose speech defending the same-sex marriage of his two moms went viral in 2011 has secured the Democratic nomination in his state Senate race. 

Zach Wahls won the primary for State Senate District 37 seat on Tuesday, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.

Wahls finished with 59.8 percent of the vote out of the four candidates.

ADVERTISEMENT
Janice Weiner came in second with 34.8 percent, followed by Eric Dirth with 2.8 percent and Imad Youssif with 2.6 percent, the newspaper reported.

Wahls made headlines in 2011 when he gave a powerful speech to members of the Iowa House of Representatives’s Judiciary Committee during a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. 

The video went viral and has been viewed more than 19 million times on YouTube. It was the site's most-watched political video that year. 

Wahls, now 26, has since become an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights.

He leads a campaign called Scouts for Equality to allow gay and transgender children to join the Boy Scouts, the Press-Citizen reported.

When he announced his campaign in December, Wahls outlined a platform that focused on affordable higher education, Medicaid expansion and mental health care.

“I am incredibly conscientious of the fact that I am a straight white guy running in the Me Too moment,” Wahls wrote on Twitter. “I am running because I believe all Iowans need a seat at the table. That absolutely means more women running, it means more young people, it means more people of color. This is an all hands on deck situation that is going to determine the future of our state for generations to come — and all hands means all hands.”

Wahls will face Libertarian candidate Carl Krambeck for the western Iowa seat during the November general election.

The position is being vacated by state Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D) who is not seeking reelection.