The speech from Zach Wahls in which the Iowa college student urged the state legislature to reject a constitutional amendment that would deny marriage equality to his lesbian mothers has topped the list of the most watched political videos on YouTube in 2011, with 18.3 million views.
The Associated Press reports that Wahls’s video bested the news and politics rankings released Tuesday by Youtube. Rick Perry’s controversial ad “Strong,” in which the Republican presidential hopeful criticized gays in the military and alleged that President Barack Obama was promoting a “war on religion,” took third place in the category and also became the most watched campaign commercial of 2011. The top five also included Obama’s speech to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April in second place, his announcement on the death of Osama bin Laden in May, and the “Brother Can You Spare a Trillion?” video by Florida Republican activist Blaise Ingoglia about the federal debt.
The Wahls video first went viral in February after he delivered the three-minute speech about his family to the Iowa House of Representatives. Lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment to repeal marriage equality despite his eloquent plea, but the measure appears to be stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate for the time being.
Earlier this month, the Wahls video went viral for a second time after it was posted to MoveOn.org under the provocative headline “Two Lesbians Raised a Baby and This Is What They Got.” The advocacy organization reported that the video received more than 600,000 Facebook shares, Likes, and comments in less than 24 hours.
The “Strong” ad from Perry drew 7 million views in less than two weeks, according to the AP, and it also inspired several popular parodies. The Texas governor’s debut presidential campaign ad also made the most-watched list with 2.1 million views.
The top 10 political videos drew about 50 million views all together, which makes them less popular than other categories on YouTube, such as “Friday,” the Rebecca Black video about the weekend that received nearly 180 million views to become the most watched video of the year overall. However, the AP reported that YouTube expects the political category to gain popularity in 2012 as the presidential election approaches.
Watch the videos from Zach Wahls and Rick Perry below, if for some reason you haven’t already seen them.