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'This Week' Game Changer: Gay Rights Movement

Edie Windsor, Robbie Rogers, and Jason Collins helped make 2013 a historic year for gay rights.
3:00 | 12/29/13

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Transcript for 'This Week' Game Changer: Gay Rights Movement
When the pope said those words, who am I to judge when asked about gay priests. It signaled a sea change in the acceptance of gays. So much change, capped by a supreme court historic sanctioning of gay marriage. Here's abc's david wright. Reporter: From the highest court in the land -- tonight, landmark ruling. The supreme court redefines the modern american family. Reporter: -- To the most competitive court in the land. You always knew you were gay? Yes. I describe that you know the sky is blue but you keep telling yourself it's red. Reporter:2013 was a game changer. From the church and its new more accepting pope and state after state after state legalizing gay marriage, 2013 broke the rainbow ceiling. The biggest year for gay and lesbian rights since the stonewall riots 30 years ago. This has been a good year for the gay and lesbian community. Yes, it's kind of funny. Reporter: Soccer star robbie rogers of the l.A. Galaxy is living that change in realtime. Earlier this year, he posted a courageous note to his blog and became the first professional soccer player in history to tell his fans that he's gay. I was nervous. After I sent it, I felt so much lighter. Reporter: Other athletes have come out after they already left their respective sports. But active players, openly gay? Unheard of in american sports. At least on a professional level, until this year. Not only did rogers come in, so did nba veteran jason collins. Who sat down with george. Martina navratilova said that this is going to save some kids lives. I look to her as one of my heroes. Hopefully, I can be someone else's role model. Reporter: Collins made the cover of "sports illustrated." He chose the number 98 to honor matthew shepard, a young, gay man murdered in 1998 hate crime. What do you say to those who want to be a pro ballplayer and happens to be gay? It doesn't matter that you're gay, but the key thing is that it's about basketball. Reporter: Pro sports is of course high pressure and high profile, almost stereotypically manly, but so is another helm of american life. That saw a huge shift in attitudes in 2013. The u.S. Military, having already dropped its long-standing ban on gay and lesbian service, this year, it extended full benefits to same-sex spouses. Astonishingly, the u.S. Military is now more open than u.S. Professional sports. If the military can change, surely the locker room can change? Yeah, you would think so. Reporter: For the armed services came as an immediate consequence of the u.S. Supreme court ruling this year in a landmark case brought by edie windsor, who spoke with diane sawyer. When you see the words that edie windsor versus the united states of america. When I first saw it I was terrified. What have I done? Then I gradually understood that the government wasn't going to be permanently mad at me. They got married in 2007. It took the u.S. Supreme court to make it happen. When you heard the ws, what did you do? Cried, first thing. Okay? And the room was full of people screaming and crying at the same time. Reporter: Sadly, her wife did not live to see it. Do you think about what you would like to say to her? I said, honey, it's done. I know what she would say. She would say, you did it, honey. Reporter: The latest abc news polling data finds that support for gay marriage is at an all-time high, 58% of americans now say it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to wed. Ironically, one of the most financial backers of the minority view, donating hundreds of money to anti-gay is robbie rogers' new boss. Has he said anything to you? No, he hasn't. No conversation at all? No conversation at all. Reporter: Rogers says his fans and his family have been every bit of accepting he could hope. Everything that happened has been the exact opposite of what I thought would happen. I come from a very catholic, conservative family. Reporter: He said there have been a few abusive remarks from the sideline, but mostly from fans of rival teams. It's usually when we're winning. Reporter: Not like jackie robinson? No, no. I don't like when people compare jason collins to him. Because people wanted to kill him. Reporter: The place he was most worried about -- the locker room. So, any awkward moments in the locker room at all? For the most part, no. Especially in our locker room, our guys are very respectful. We make jokes. Reporter: What kind of jokes? I'm the first person they come to for fashion advice. I'm like, come on, are you serious? Reporter: Rogers' experience is in keeping with other hi high-profile americans. It hasn't made their careers miss a beat. There are about 6,000 professional athletes in this country, exactly two of whom are out, you and jason collins, what do you suspect the real number is? I have no clue. Not one has reached out to me. I haven't spoken to any -- any other athletes that are closeted. Reporter: No one has reached out to you? No, no, and I have had thousands and thousands of e-mails and letters and everything, from people from everywhere, everywhere around the world. Reporter: It's amazing. Nothing. He's hoping his example will make a difference. For "this week," david wright, abc news, los angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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