Odd thought. I spoke with a Jewish man 30 years ago who said the state of Israel could not have come into being if it hadn't been for the Holocaust. He was not only wondering how many Jews living in the next generations would think that was somehow worth it, or at least debatable, but how many of the Eastern European Jews who lived in that time would think so. Of the survivors, virtually none, I thought. But dying for something is psychologically quite different than living for it. Some of those Hasids were pretty intense, and such a thought might give meaning to dying. We can't replay history to know whether it is even true, let alone read the minds of what people would have thought under various circumstances.
I think of this in terms of the AIDS epidemic and gay rights. It may be that the popular support for gay marriage would have proceeded along similar lines anyway. The Stonewall Riots and Gay Pride parades certainly predated the epidemic, but public opinion didn't move much.
While most people in the 1980's still felt uncomfortable around homosexuals in person, and doubly so around those who were infected, there was a growing sympathy for them in the abstract. Hollywood and New York went into full-court press to remind us that 1) people were dying an ugly death, and this was sad, and 2) they were In Love, which 20th C America had swallowed as an excuse for anything decades earlier, all on our heterosexual own with no assist from gays or lesbians. It was all so sad and unfair, and people began to feel it would be nice if we could do something for them.
There was additional social/political opportunism for those who wanted to blame Reagan, or reject the families and churches they grew up in, or identify an external reason why they felt so bad and went succeeding, but that is always true with any issue, and I don't think it's part of this discussion. Your mileage may vary.
About 10 years after AIDS came to public attention, amidst all the fundraisers and awareness-raisers, civil unions/gay marriage became a legit political issue that politicians had to lie about. Maybe that wasn't entirely a coincidence.