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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Oct. 14, 2012

SAC Speaks lecture to feature advocate Zach Wahls

Zach Wahls

Related link

To watch Zach Wahls' testimony before the Iowa House Committee, click here.

Zach Wahls, a college student whose testimony to a state house committee about his non-traditional family helped stir a national dialogue about gay marriage, will share his story with a Northwest Missouri State University audience Monday, Oct. 15, in the next installment of the SAC Speaks lecture series.

Wahls’ lecture, “What Makes a Family,” is sponsored by Northwest’s Student Activities Council and begins at 7 p.m. in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The son of two lesbian mothers, the 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student had no idea his heartfelt testimony before the Iowa House Committee in January 2011 would spread like viral wildfire and even land him on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

A state champion in high school debate and multiple national finalist in competitive acting, Wahls was no stranger to speaking before an audience. Yet, he had never talked about his family in a public setting or in such open and candid terms. On his way home from the public hearing, he thought his work was, for all practical purposes, finished. 

Just two days after he testified during that hearing, however, a YouTube video of his testimony went viral, garnering millions of views via Facebook, Twitter, national and international television and other online media.

Although initially hesitant to share his story on such a vast stage, Wahls decided to advocate for family and families like his all over the country. After appearing on numerous television programs in person and his testimony airing on MSNBC, ABC, CBS and CNN, Wahls penned his game-changing college and university lecture called, "What makes a family?"

Zach shares a story that has never before been told, and offers a fresh, bold perspective on a recently rekindled and contentious issue of gay marriage.

The lecture also is part of Northwest’s Social Justice Awareness Week, Monday, Oct. 15, through Friday, Oct. 19, which features a series of entertaining and educational lectures and workshops. All events are free. For more information, click here.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468