Equality advocate Zach Wahls to speak at Owens Feb. 28Written by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A nationally-known author and advocate for equality will be appearing at two area college campuses.
Zach Wahls, known for a viral video in which he publicly presented an argument in support of same-sex marriage, will be giving a presentation titled “What Makes a Family” on Feb. 28 at both of Owens Community College’s campuses.
The first presentation will begin at 11 a.m. in the Education Center, Room 111, on the Findlay campus, 3200 Bright Road. A second presentation will take place at 2 p.m. in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the Toledo-area campus, 30335 Oregon Road, in Perrysburg Township. Both events are free and open to the public.
Wahls became an Internet sensation in January 2011 after he gave a speech to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. The public hearing was in response to a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. Wahls, who was 19 at the time, proclaimed to the audience, “The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character,” followed by the story of his upbringing by two mothers.
Almost immediately after his speech, a video was posted on YouTube and went viral. It has since received more than two million views. Following his surge in popularity, Wahls made appearances on MSNBC, CNN, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Daily Show” and at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
As a result of his rise to the spotlight, Wahls has emerged as a national advocate for marriage equality. He also recently released a book, “My Two Moms,” in which he writes about life growing up with two same-sex parents and provides insight into lessons of love and family.
Jamey Katzner, Owens’ manager of career services and student activities, said the college was welcoming to the opportunity to host Wahls.
“Someone brought his name to our attention. They had seen him on television,” Katzner said. “We looked at it as sort of an educational opportunity.”
Katzner added that the events are part of Owens’ commitment to celebrating diversity, and that the college plans to invite more speakers on diverse topics to visit its campuses.
Katzner said that he anticipates some response from people who may disagree with Wahls’ views, but he is not concerned about any controversy surrounding the appearances. He emphasized that part of learning and education is offering chances for different opinions to be discussed.
“We always invite dialogue and part of dialogue is different opinions,” Katzner said. “Let’s talk about our differences. Let’s learn from each other.”
For more information, call (567) 429-3029 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 3029, or visit www.zachwahls.com.