Summary: What is a family? This is the fundamental question posed by Zach Wahls' testimony given here. This testimony was given to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about House Joint Resolution 6, which proposed amending the Iowa Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. In his testimony, Wahls argues "the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other, to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones; it comes from the love that binds us." He notes that in discussions about gay marriage, the question often comes up about whether or not gay parents can successfully raise a child. Citing several of his own impressive accomplishments, he argues that clearly is not an issue. Instead, the issue around gay marriage is discrimination. Wahls states you are "voting for the first time in the history of our state to codify discrimination into our constitution"; "you are telling Iowans that some among you are second class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love." Viewers themselves can be encouraged to consider what defines family? How does the state define family, and how do these definitions have consequences for existing families? What does it mean to view family as an institution within a sociological perspective? Viewers may also consider the broader history of discrimination encoded in laws, from race and ethnicity, to gender and sexuality. This can also be put in the broader national context of the fight for marriage equality, as demonstrated in this clip, which shows a conservative defending marriage equality from common conservative critiques.
Submitted By: Paul Dean