Nineteen-year-old Zach Wahls has rejected praise for standing up for his family.

Zach was one of the hundreds of people who testified Tuesday during an Iowa House hearing on a proposed measure that aims to repeal the state's gay marriage law.

If approved by lawmakers and voters in 2013, the Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA) would ban gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any government recognition of gay and lesbian couples in the state.

Zach, a University of Iowa student, told lawmakers that the sense of family comes “from the commitment we make to each other” not the legal recognition offered by the government. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Appearing alongside his mothers – Terry and Jackie – and sister, Zebby, Thursday night on MSNBC's The Last Word, Zach told Lawrence O'Donnell that “if it was your family that was being told it didn't have the legal right to exist in your state, I think you'd have done the same thing.”

When asked how she felt about what her son had done, Terry said, “It still brings tears to my eyes watching the talk, hearing the praise, the commentary coming from friends and people around the globe.”

Zach's pleas to lawmakers, however, went largely unheard. Three Democrats joined 59 Republicans in voting in favor of the resolution later in the day.