NPR logo Iowa College Student Tops YouTube's Most-Viewed Political Videos Of 2011

Iowa College Student Tops YouTube's Most-Viewed Political Videos Of 2011

Of all the political videos made and uploaded in 2011, the one that drew the most views according to YouTube wasn't a slickly produced attack ad or a speech by President Obama.

Instead it was a powerful and brief speech by an Iowa college student attempting to persuade Iowa lawmakers against approving an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.


In the video which YouTube says has been viewed more than 18 million times Zach Wahls, a 19-year old University of Iowa engineering student raised by a lesbian couple, concluded his Jan. 31, 2011 speech thus:

"Over the next two hours, I'm sure we're going to hear plenty of testimony about how damaging having gay parents is on kids. But in my 19 years not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple.

"And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character..."

The efforts of Wahls and others of the legislation's opponents prevailed because, while it passed the Iowa House, the proposed amendment wasn't considered by by the Iowa Senate.

Other top videos included "Brother Can You Spare a Trillion," posted by Government Gone Wild Seminars; Obama's and comedian Seth Meyers' speeches at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner; Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly arguing about the rapper Common, and two Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign ads, including his controversial "I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Christian" Iowa ad which garnered far more "dislikes" than "likes."