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Same–sex marriage: Proof people can make a difference

Pati Shojaee

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It’s easy to go on thinking you can’t change the world or make a difference; that this country is set in its ways and change is impossible.

That is simply not true.

On July 28, 1969, the Stonewall riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, beginning the gay liberation movement in America.

In the ‘60s, very few business establishments would admit openly gay or lesbian people inside. The Stonewall Inn, owned by the mafia, was one of the few places where LGBT individuals were welcomed.

Unfortunately, however, police raids often took place in these “gay bars” making it very difficult for the LGBT community to have any sanctuary.

In 1969, during a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, members of the community and regular patrons rebelled against the police and quickly gained control of the situation beginning the gay liberation movement in this country and changing everything.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned California’s proposition 8, legalizing gay marriage in our state. Only five years earlier, proposition 8 was not repealed and same-sex marriage was still illegal in California.

In five years our fighting and our voices have been heard.

So how did we get from banning LGBT people from businesses to letting them legally marry each other? True human grit and activism.

Over the course of 44 years, activists were able to completely redefine the definition of marriage and create equality in the country.

These historical events and outcomes prove that together we can make a difference. If you can change just one person’s mind, you have made a difference.

That may seem easy enough, but it is actually rather difficult to get people to listen. However, with passion and courage, change is possible.

Before the 19th Amendment passed on May 19th, 1919, women were not allowed to vote, meaning women were not seen as worthy to contribute to society in such a profound way.

But because of the great work done by Susan B. Anthony and the rest of the courageous suffragists women won the right to vote. In 2008, we had a serious female candidate in the running to be president of the Unites States, proving once again that change is possible.

So who says you can’t make a difference?

Change could actually just start with you. By telling a friend or stranger your new idea or joining a club on campus, you can make a difference in this world. All you need to do is try and you’ve already succeeded.

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