Viral Video Teen: Gay Suicides Were 'Wake-Up Call'

Iowan Zach Wahls explains his speech
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2011 1:34 PM CST
Viral Video Teen: Gay Suicides Were 'Wake-Up Call'
Zach Wahls speaks to Iowa lawmakers.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Zach Wahls became an Internet celebrity in February, when he passionately defended gay families in a speech to Iowa lawmakers that went viral. You may have seen it going around again yesterday, as Wahls surged in popularity once again thanks to an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit. So, why did the 19-year-old decide to make his now-famous speech against a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage in the state? Well, it was that issue "combined with the fact that this was at the tail end of that string of suicides by gay and lesbian kids" that served as "a huge wake-up call," he explained.

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Though he was nervous when he began, "once you realize that you’re there to defend your family, you find your voice pretty quick," he continued. Thanks in part to his speech, the amendment failed to pass, the Washington Post notes. Today, Wahls is working on a book tentatively titled, My Two Moms: Everything I Needed to Know About Gay Marriage I Learned in Boy Scouts. Though many Reddit commenters recommended he go into politics, Wahls said he'd rather not be in the spotlight, but might work for a politician. One consequence of his newfound fame? It cost him his relationship: "Turns out 'Internet famous' isn’t actually good at generating a relationship," he wrote. Watch his speech here. (Read more Zach Wahls stories.)

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