imageZach Wahls is a 19-year-old engineering student at the University of Iowa.  He was at the public hearing for HJR 6, the Iowa Marriage Amendment.  Wahls spoke against the resolution that would protect the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.  He is a incredibly articulate young man who presented a brilliant piece of propaganda to those listening in the House Chamber and that has now gone viral on YouTube.

He is the son of two lesbians, a lesbian mom and an anonymous sperm donor.  He was then adopted by his mother’s lesbian partner (now spouse).  He has now become a hero for those on the left.  His testimony however just employs rhetorical devices and circular arguments.  WHO Radio’s Jan Mickelson did a masterful job this morning “reverse engineering” his testimony line by line.  I encourage you to listen to the whole segment and if you have time this morning’s episode as it was a really good show this morning.

55 comments
  1. Zach Wahls isn’t trying to convince the chairman to switch his mind by blinding him with logic. Wahls’ speech was a heartfelt plea. Jan Mickleson’s “deconstruction” is like a logical critique on a love letter.

    1. I agree, he was trying to emotionally manipulate him. I’ve yet to see a logical argument made in favor of same sex marriage.

      “Blinding him with logic.” Logic doesn’t blind, it opens your eyes.

      1. There have been no logical arguments made against gay marriage only propaganda, most of which has been debunked by scholars! That scandinavia piece was used by anti-gay people for years to try and prove that gay marriage was harmful until it was shown that they problems written about in that article existed before gay marriage came onto the scene. I don’t see people using it so much anymore but it was amusing to see it here

      2. I’m not trying to badger you here but that “Stand to Reason” article is hilarious and nothing but reductio ad absurdum. A freshman rhetoric major could turn that entire article into swiss cheese in a matter of minutes.

        Just so you know in order for this slippery slope to be viable Gregory Koukl is asking us to compare homosexual human beings to animals. Furthermore he is asserting that by changing the definition of marriage it will somehow cheapen it or mean that “marriage isn’t anything in particular.” If he wants to stand by that statement he would be forced to stand against interracial marriages as well. After all at one point that was illegal but the law was redefined because society called for it. (Granted Iowa never had a law banning “miscegenation” but Koukl isn’t from Iowa nor is he defending a specific state constitution)

        No one in their right mind is going to try to defend their right to marry a goat and if you think that is a slippery slope then you sir are spewing more propaganda than you claim Zach is.

      3. “I’m not trying to badger you here.”

        And then you say a freshman rhetoric major could turn that article into Swiss cheese.

        Right. Considering this guy has a master’s degree and debates across the country on college campuses with college professors…. I doubt that.

        Liberal tactic #1 – try to make your opposition feel stupid.

      4. Is this really happening? It baffles me how little people understand the flaws in their own rhetoric. Now your just throwing an appeal to authority out there. Whats worse is instead of deconstructing and countering Eric’s points, you threw a temper tantrum and accused him of attacking you. This is incredibly immature. You say the first Tactic is to make your Opposition feel stupid, but with your tired rhetoric, and your multiple logical fallacies, your really not giving us much to work with…

      5. We must appeal to an authority or it is as the Stand to Reason article suggests, s simple construct that can change again next week. Why can’t brother and sister marry? An entire football team? Marriage is what it is because God made it that way.

      6. Its difficult to maintain the position you are taking on this. If you state that changing the definition of marriage weakens it I would very much like to hear your thoughts on interracial marriage. The definition has changed in the past and it has changed to include same sex couples. To change it back would also weaken it. You can’t pick and choose like that and keep a relevant argument.

        The brother/sister or football team argument is exactly the same as the human marrying a goat scenario. Bringing God into the mix may work for your personal reasoning but it has no place in our public policies.

      7. We’re not talking about religious notions of marriage here, we are talking about the secular state and its support of marriage. Churches can choose whether or not they want to marry same sex couples, some already do, even in states that don’t recognize such marriages.

      8. This entire counter-argument is based on Zach Wahls committing Logical Fallacies, but this is the definition of hypocrisy. I call Appeal to Authority (which, in case you didn’t know is a logical fallacy,) and not only to you admit to committing it, you then say you HAVE to commit it. That is so backwards I don’t even know where to begin. Oh and by bringing up God, in the one post you have made you have already lost. Congrats on sprinting to the bench…

      9. I agree Zach, Shane isn’t responding with any sort of logic nor is he bringing up a counterpoint. I was hoping for a good dialogue with a few good posts back and forth but it doesn’t seem that he is interested in (or possibly capable of) such an exchange.

        Also, “Considering this guy has a master’s degree and debates across the country on college campuses with college professors…” some random guy just poked a couple of holes in Gregory Koukl’s main arguments on this subject with no response other than, “Liberal tactic #1 – try to make your opposition feel stupid.”

        p.s. I wasn’t even trying to make anyone feel stupid.

        p.p.s. I’m not a liberal.

      10. “Some random guy poked holes.” You think he scored points, I disagree. I’ll respond to his points later, if I have time. I have a little thing called a JOB that prevents me from having endless internet debate.

      11. I was speaking of myself poking holes. I have yet to see a logical retort and I welcome a thought out response. I was going to make this my last post but take your time after your JOB (not sure why you put caps there other than to try to talk down to me) to respond and let me have it. Please take your time as I probably won’t check back on this thread until later tonight.

        None of these replies are intended on attacking you as a person. I am merely attacking what I perceive to be a deeply flawed argument.

      12. Is this really happening? It baffles me how little people understand the flaws in their own rhetoric. Now your just throwing an appeal to authority out there. Whats worse is instead of deconstructing and countering Eric’s points, you threw a temper tantrum and accused him of attacking you. This is incredibly immature. You say the first Tactic is to make your Opposition feel stupid, but with your tired rhetoric, and your multiple logical fallacies, your really not giving us much to work with…

      13. No he isn’t asking us to compare homosexual human beings to animals, that isn’t the point. His point is that if the definition can be changed to meet changing conditions then it logically can be changed to whatever society wants at that time.

        You statement about “comparing homosexual human beings to animals” is again a rhetorical device to assert victim status. He did no such thing. We put limitations on marriage – it has always had constraints that in every society up until the last 15 years or so has mean one man and one woman. Your example re. interracial marriages is a red herring you want us to equate race with gender, sorry.

        Koukl could have just as easily brought up polygamy – which is actually now being debated in Canada. He could have mentioned incestuous relationships which there are groups even here in the United States that would promote that.

        Then there is this (somewhat related) article from 2004 on the “End of Marriage in Scandinavia” – http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp. Is same sex marriage to blame with the decline in marriage in Denmark, Sweden and Norway? Not entirely, it certainly dind’t help, and gay marriage has been there long enough to be able to see its impact on society.

      14. definitely compare race and orientation. marriage of whites with blacks was denied because of a traditional value that blacks were less than whites, now you are saying being homosexual is less than heterosexual.

        yet homosexuals have never been found wanting in any sector of society compared to heterosexuals. they are not less a father , friend, soldier, pastor, lawyer, counselor , engineer, brother, neighbor.

        homosexuals bond in the same way as heterosexuals out of mutual love, devotion,affection, trust, and respect for a shared committed life together.

        you dont trust gays to even speak about what it is to be gay. do you think that they would want to have children if they thought thay were denying the children they were raising, even the apa doesnt agree with you. if this is such a travesty then why isnt this same traditional value speaking out as vehemently against single parent conception and adoption…………………….do you hear anything . havent heard a thing.

      15. Ummm…wow. I read that article, and if that’s your argument for state-accepted SSM contributing to the downfall of ‘traditional’ marriage, I don’t think you have much to stand on.
        First of all, the article cites statistics that over half of children in Norway and Sweden are born out of wedlock (why they didn’t mention Iceland and it’s 66% rate is beyond me…way to use all your ammunition, guys). Fine, but I can also show you statistics that ‘prove’ that out-of-wedlock birth rates have always been higher in those countries, from long before theu legalized SSM. This quote actually made me chuckle: “And by looking closely at it we can answer the key empirical question underlying the gay marriage debate. Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has.” How, by increasing a birth rate metric that was already increasing anyway? For comparison, let’s look at a couple countries where SSM is either not sanctioned (Great Britain) or is sanctioned in a small minority of states (the United States). From 1976 to 2007, the rate of out-of-wedlock births in Great Britain rose from 9% to 44.4%. Likewise, in the US, from 1980 to 2007, the rate went from 18% to 39%. Further, the price of palladium in the United States has risen from just over $100/ounce in 1986 to over $800/ounce in 2011. Clearly, palladium is a threat to the traditional family!
        Obviously, that last was made in jest, but I believe it helps illustrate a point. Seeing causality where there is none, or at best, a casual relationship between factors and passing them off as fact is a dangerous thing.

      16. Shane – you must be incredibly behind the times. It has been prove there is absolutely no connection between same sex marriage and other problems going on in Scandinavia. In fact, the problems they were experiencing there started well before the advent of gay marriage. I still have seen no logical argument against gay marriage – not a single one that isn’t pure propaganda! Anti-gay folk have desperately been trying to tie gay marriage ot all sorts of social ills and they are failing. Its particularly interesting that gay marriage in the US isn’t causing any sorts of problems and is actually benfiting the economies in which it is allowed.

      17. How is that anything resembling a cogent argument? All he does is throw out a bunch of rhetorical “who are you to say…” questions. Societal norms have been redefined throughout history…ladies, raise your hand if you could vote in an election held 100 years ago. African-Americans, how would you have felt had you lived in the District of Columbia and known that you were considered ““a human being, who is by law deprived of his or her liberty for life, and is the property of another.” “Separate but Equal” was overturned in 1954. So his argument that societal norms should not change is ill-reasoned.
        Further, he seems to find the concept of ‘consent’ a weak argument. Tell that to a rape victim. Gregory.

      18. Choosing who you spend your life with in an interpersonal relationship and the legal benefits/rights that go along with it isn’t something religion or personal preference should stand in the way of. By stating that same sex marriage is wrong, or that the law should not acknowledge same sex marriage you are immediately taking one of two sides: either you believe it is harmful, or you have a personal or religious issue with it.

        If it is a personal or religious view you are out of luck. (especially if it is a religious view) You said yourself that you need a logical argument and I dare you to try to prove any religion with logic. Religion is in itself completely defiant of logic in its nature, it is based on faith. If it is strictly a personal issue you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to force your insecurities on other people especially when at no point do you have the right to not be offended.

        If you believe that same sex marriage will be harmful to us as a state, the burden is now on you to prove why you believe this. Any testimony or thought on this will be anecdotal on either side so deconstructing Mr. Wahl’s speech because it was anecdotal is just a huge waste of time.

      19. I’ve yet to see a logical argument made in the favor of (literally) any religion in existence. However, as long as those belief systems and life styles aren’t causing harm they are not only allowed, but protected by the constitution. Where is the protection for other peoples life styles?

        His argument was exactly that, they aren’t hurting anyone so why shouldn’t they be allowed to get married?

  2. Agreed Hans. I’d rather Jan spent his time trying to deconstruct the judicial opinions and the peer-reviewed articles for the scientific research submitted as evidence. The only thing masterful about this is the fact that Jan actually pulls the same rhetoric techniques he claims to be exposing while he is “exposing” them! For example, Jan tries to call out an ad hominem, and then proceeds to use phrases like “soft-headed judges” throughout the “deconstruction”.

    1. Listen to the entire podcast, the term “softheaded judges” – the basis is found earlier in the show.

      “Peer reviewed” exactly what peer reviewed article was done on same sex marriage?

      What I’ve found “peer reviewed” to mean in the context of this debate, is “articles that I agree with which have been reviewed by people I agree with.” Earlier in the program, Jan talks to one of the law professors involved in the supposedly “balanced” panel discussion that took place at the University of Iowa.

      Academia has lost a ton of credibility on this subject when they intentionally censor, ignore or demonize opinions with which they disagree.

  3. Agreed Hans. I’d rather Jan spent his time trying to deconstruct the judicial opinions and the peer-reviewed articles for the scientific research submitted as evidence. The only thing masterful about this is the fact that Jan actually pulls the same rhetoric techniques he claims to be exposing while he is “exposing” them! For example, Jan tries to call out an ad hominem, and then proceeds to use phrases like “soft-headed judges” throughout the “deconstruction”.

  4. I can’t believe I listened to this nonsense. You kept saying “logical fallacy”, but the only ones I could see were your own. When did you DECIDE to be heterosexual? Answer: you didn’t, unless you were trying to suppress your own homosexuality, which you wouldn’t admit anyways. So why do you think that people can’t be born homosexual? Obviously, not everybody’s the same as you; you don’t expect them to be, but you can’t deny them rights because of it. Plus, gays still have all the duties of American citizens, so don’t think they don’t pay taxes just like you do. Discrimination breeds discrimination. If you don’t agree with gay marriage, then don’t marry your own gender.
    Besides, homosexuals don’t want sympathy. They want the rights that the American government was put in place to protect, for ALL of its citizens. Speaking of rights, I bet I know which side your ancestors were fighting on in the Civil War.
    Spoiler: You’re going to lose this fight, too.
    P.S. And please stop using the Bible to justify your own prejudices. Because honestly, your only objection is that you think it’s ‘icky’.

    1. All I see is demonization in your comment. Are you going to make an argument yet?

      Accusing me of being a homosexual and supporting slavery just earned you a place on my blacklist. Thanks for demonstrating your tolerance.

    2. Having an inclination to do something wrong from one’s birth is no evidence it is “natural” or correct. A person may have inclinations to steal, kill, or molest children, but their inclinations do not prove the rightness of their actions. In fact, the opposite is true. These inclinations show the fallenness of man, and his need for a Redeemer.

      1. Stealing, killing and molesting children hurts others. Someone being or choosing to be gay as some people believe does not hurt others so your argument is invalid. A person marrying another person of the same sex does not send you to hell because you are doing what your supposed to do. I do not understand how stopping gay people from marrying affects people personally when they will still get into there so called heaven because they did everything right.

  5. I can’t believe I listened to this nonsense. You kept saying “logical fallacy”, but the only ones I could see were your own. When did you DECIDE to be heterosexual? Answer: you didn’t, unless you were trying to suppress your own homosexuality, which you wouldn’t admit anyways. So why do you think that people can’t be born homosexual? Obviously, not everybody’s the same as you; you don’t expect them to be, but you can’t deny them rights because of it. Plus, gays still have all the duties of American citizens, so don’t think they don’t pay taxes just like you do. Discrimination breeds discrimination. If you don’t agree with gay marriage, then don’t marry your own gender.
    Besides, homosexuals don’t want sympathy. They want the rights that the American government was put in place to protect, for ALL of its citizens. Speaking of rights, I bet I know which side your ancestors were fighting on in the Civil War.
    Spoiler: You’re going to lose this fight, too.
    P.S. And please stop using the Bible to justify your own prejudices. Because honestly, your only objection is that you think it’s ‘icky’.

  6. lets see……………………jans argument against:
    (1) not part of the created order…………………the created order was that zach was created a man……method has nothing to do with the order…………….god’s love is in both

    (2)it comes against the ideal that we worship……………so jan choses to worship an ideal so what, pagan’s do the same.

    (3) put more financial stress on our welfare system………………rights are determine by their economic consequences?

    (4) antiquity is the litmus test for the truth……………….really………………2000 years of slavery………………….800 years of practicing indulgences……………..2000 years of proactive antisemetism……………….1700 years of burning witches at the sttake.

    zach’s was that gay(couples) make as good parents as heterosexual(couples) because

    (1) i stand before you as a product of a gay

    parented family…………i am no different…………….that fact is self evident.

    (2)my gay parents love each other in the same devotion, love, and commitment as those of heterosexual parents…………….in the realm of faith isnt spirit what is important not physicalities

    (3) the affirmation that i was raised in is what is important……………………the nature of the spirit of the relationship determines if it is of the spirit of life.

    (4) my fanily is no different from any other family in its devotion and affirmation…………..again self evident…….this apart from this understanding being affirmed by every credible psychological institution.

    if our interest is to make laws that support the spirit of life………………………………what side does that?

    or is it that our laws are to support our worshipped ideals?

  7. I wish you would stop with this “protect the traditional definition of marriage” nonsense.

    This is nothing more than telling gay people their relationships are worthless and that people like Zach don’t deserve married parents. His parents should be legal strangers to each others to add difficulty to his family. That will teach them!

  8. its amazing that this country will make laws about an ideal no one can prove is actually real, along with prohibitions about gender selection and choices of erogenous zones. when was the last time any one heard a common understanding “yes i known children reaised by gay couples and they are less than those i have known who were raised by heterosexual parents”. the only way that jan attempts to attack it is because it challenges traditional values(like back when it was a traditional value that blacks were less than whites) and about the style rather than the substance of zach’s argument, which is that the orientation of parents does not diminish in any way their parenting. devotion is still devotion, commitment is still commitment,love is still love, nurturing is still nurturing.

  9. I have to say that refusing to acknowledge the partner as a parent is fundamentally insulting to people who have been adopted. You have implicitly required a biological relationship to qualify as a parent. Have you even considered what such reasoning says about children adopted by heterosexual couples? Are heterosexual couples who adopt children not parents in your mind?

  10. “Arguments” against gay marriage seem also to be arguments against all state-sponsored marriage. Will you stand with me in pushing for the abolition of subsidized unions?

    1. “Subsidized” I wouldn’t call getting to keep more of your own money akin to government “subsidizing my union.”

      I believe there is a societal benefit to state-sponsored marriage. If we never had government involvement though I wouldn’t be opposed to that.

      1. Do you and your partner have a more legitimate claim to your own money than do Zach’s parents to theirs money?

      2. I agree, we should lower and simplify all taxes. That’s unlikely to happen soon, so in the meantime, which benefits of state-sponsored unions do you and your wife have a greater claim to than do Zach’s moms?

      3. Shane–

        At the end of the podcast, Jan makes marriage sound like nothing more than a “welfare grab” (I believe those were the words he used). He accuses Zach’s moms of trying to get into his pockets. Yet earlier, he mentions his wife, so whose pockets is he trying to get into?

      4. Actually, legally-married same-sex couples have to pay federal income tax on spousal benefits, something opposite-sex couples do not have to do. Jan could possibly be digging into Zach’s moms pocketbooks,

    2. “Subsidized” I wouldn’t call getting to keep more of your own money akin to government “subsidizing my union.”

      I believe there is a societal benefit to state-sponsored marriage. If we never had government involvement though I wouldn’t be opposed to that.

  11. Someone spent all that time “deconstructing” a 19 year olds wonderful speech. LOL – that is surely the sign of desperate right-wing folk. I think Hans below put it best – its like trying to do “a logical critique on a love letter”

  12. Okay you are quite obviously, an idiot. How could you watch Zach Wahl’s speech and feel that he is anything but brilliant and passionate? He is a living example of the fact that two people who love each other, whether its female and female, male and male, or female and female, or just a single male, or just a single female, can raise a child just as well as anyone. There is no way to “blind someone with logic”, Logic is LOGIC. It is plainly logical, the fact that you can’t see that proves you are simply an illogical idiot. If you want to keep believing in nonsense, keep on truckin’, But I choose logic.

  13. Okay you are quite obviously, an idiot. How could you watch Zach Wahl’s speech and feel that he is anything but brilliant and passionate? He is a living example of the fact that two people who love each other, whether its female and female, male and male, or female and female, or just a single male, or just a single female, can raise a child just as well as anyone. There is no way to “blind someone with logic”, Logic is LOGIC. It is plainly logical, the fact that you can’t see that proves you are simply an illogical idiot. If you want to keep believing in nonsense, keep on truckin’, But I choose logic.

  14. Based on your words that are struck through, I beg the question: are you calling all adoptions illegitimate? I’m sorry, but the Korean boy in my class when I was in grade school was the son of the two white (European-American, for political correctness) adults who had adopted him, not the Korean male and female who gave him birth. Also, Zach starts his speech by saying, “I was raised by two women,” while making it clear that one of his legally recognized mothers is his biological mother.

    It is simple things like this, attempting to delegitimize the legally-recognized relationship between this man and the two adult women that he called “Mom” that makes your rhetoric hateful and disrespectful.

  15. After listening to this, I feel more hate toward Jan Mickelson than I have ever felt for someone that I have not met. I would be ashamed to be his son.

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