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Despite this setback, Melissa remains hopeful. She says the fight for same-sex marriage has gone beyond the gay community, and straight people are starting to stand up for gay rights as well. "There are people really coming out because they're starting to understand that what you do to someone else, you do to yourself," she says. "None of us can be free unless all of us are free."

Melissa says she was also inspired by the unity she saw on Election Day. "We feel this feeling of unity coming over not only just our country ... this feeling of oneness, this feeling of understanding," she says. "I feel you all know we can't be left behind. There's no more 'us' and 'them.' There's no more, 'We get these rights, but they don't.' That's last century—we're moving on."

"I feel that hope too," Oprah says. "You said it as beautifully as could be said."
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FROM: Oprah Fridays: Melissa Etheridge Speaks Out
Published on November 14, 2008

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