CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Delegates and guests to the 2012 Democratic National Convention rose to their feet to welcome Zach Wahls to the stage early Thursday evening.

The young man and straight ally became famous across the nation after standing up at the Iowa General Assembly in support of his two mothers during that state’s debate over gay marriage.

At the convention podium, Wahls said his family was “like any other” — “We eat dinner, we go to church, we have chores,” he said. “But some people don’t see it that way.” When I was 12, watching the 2004 Republican convention, I remember politicians talking about protecting marriage from families like mine.”

This year’s DNC has been heavy on LGBT-inclusive rhetoric. But convention organizers have gone further by actively including speakers like Wahls. Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank also spoke on Thursday. On the convention’s opening night, several speakers including First Lady Michelle Obama reiterated their support for LGBT equality.

Wahls’ speech at the convention was meant to rally support against Mitt Romney. Democrats say he’ll be harmful to families.

“Governor Romney says he’s against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father,” Wahls said. “I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because 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. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.