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Iowan thrust into national spotlight after viral video brings ‘My Two Moms’ memoir to Atlanta

Zach Wahls

In January 2011, then 19-year old Zach Wahls spoke before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee ahead of a vote that would have repealed same-sex marriage in the state. A video of his speech was uploaded to YouTube that evening, and in the hours and days that followed, Wahls found himself thrust into the national gay rights debate.

Wahls has since worked on gay acceptance in the Boy Scouts of America and has toured the country, speaking to students in colleges and high schools. He's also written a New York Times bestseller, “My Two Moms,” which brings him to Atlanta for a June 27 reading at the Friends School, sponsored by Charis Books & More and Atlanta Pride.

GA Voice spoke with Wahls about growing up with two moms, his goals and aspirations for the future, and why it's important to put the toilet seat down.

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Reports: Ernst & Young CEO comes out in support of gays in Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts of America: Reinstate Cub Scout leader who was removed for being gay

James Turley, national Boy Scouts Board member and CEO of Ernst & Young issues statement saying he is coming out in support of gay inclusion in scouting, according to CNBC and GLAAD.

The decision came after Jennifer Tyrell, a lesbian den mother from Ohio, was kicked from the Boy Scouts after a year of serving as her son's den leader, she alleges. She's created a petition on Change.org calling on the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy toward gay scouts and gay leaders. The petition currently has some 300,000 signatures.

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[Video] A wish for the New Year? Equality for all families

Loves Makes an Family

When Zach Wahls of Iowa stood before the state legislature to talk about his lesbian mothers and the strength of his family while defending marriage equality, millions noticed thanks to YouTube. The video of his speech to lawmakers was seen by more than 18 million people and ranked by YouTube as the most viewed political video for 2011.

In response, thousands of families — gay and straight — submitted their own photos of their families for an online campaign called "Love Makes a Family" that calls for equality for all families in 2012.

Here's hoping the New Year does bring all our families joy.

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Gay stories among top YouTube videos of 2011

Iowa teenager Zach Wahls

YouTube today released its list of the most-watched political videos of 2011. This year's top 10 list includes President Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a compound in Pakistan, a political ad from the defunct campaign of former Atlanta radio personality Herman Cain and a couple of comedians.

Two videos in particular, including the year's most-viewed, dealt directly with the gay rights movement. Topping the list was Zach Wahls, sharing his story of growing up in the heartland with two moms.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry's “Strong” ad highlighting how terrible our country has become now that openly gay and lesbian soldiers can serve in the Armed Forces. The video has the honor of being the most disliked video in YouTube history and came in at number three on the list.