Out to Dinner

Zach Wahls helps launch a new initiative joining gay families with straight allies

He may not be a household name, but you probably remember his powerful testimony and YouTube video that went viral last year in defense of same-sex marriage. Zach Wahls is the son of two lesbian moms, Jackie and Terry, whose rights he defended when he testified in front of the state house in Iowa against a constitutional amendment that would have reversed a marriage equality ruling. Wahls was just 19 years old when he made that powerful speech. He’s since written a book about being raised by lesbian moms – and how it shaped his character for the better.

Recently, Equality PA announced it would be working with Wahls in the coming weeks on a new educational project called “Out to Dinner.” The national project has a simple goal – to help put faces and stories to the political realities and struggle for LGBT rights in America.

It asks LGBT couples and families to invite a straight ally couple to join this project and host a dinner as part of a larger national event. As a partner, Equality PA is asking Pennsylvanians throughout the state to make this commitment. The ally couples will then be asked to invite to the dinner some of their friends who are still on the fence when it comes to marriage equality and other LGBT rights issues. “Out to Dinner” will not be hosted with the intent of talking angrily about politics or religion, but rather, in the hopes of breaking bread while getting to know new friends in a casual, respectful environment – and to hear honest stories about how laws can effect the people in the other side of the table.

It’s also an opportunity to do something tangible for LGBT rights in Pennsylvania, a state that lacks many of the basic protections afforded to straight couples, including marriage and workplace equality.

As Wahls said in front of his own state house that day he made history, “Our family really isn’t so different from any other Iowa family. …We go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations.” He added, “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. That’s what makes a family.”

To find out how you can host a dinner or join one, click here.