The United Church of Christ becomes the first major denomination to approve the ordination of someone who is openly gay.

Dignity develops Statement of Position and Purpose; National President Joe Gilgamesh tours cities where there is interest in Dignity, including Boston.

December 3, 1972: Dignity/Boston meets for the first time at Randolph Country Club as an outgrowth of the group Catholic Homophiles.


Dignity/Boston moves to St. Clement's Church.

The Boston Globe Magazine runs a feature on gay Catholics and Dignity/Boston.

Dignity/Boston members Paul Diederich, Fr. Tom Oddo, and Jack Hart elected National President, Secretary, and Treasurer, respectively, at the First National Biennial Convention in Los Angeles.

Dignity/Inc. (precursor to Dignity/USA) National Office moves to Boston.

The Reverend Ray Broshears, a gay minister, makes national news when he marries a lesbian couple in San Francisco.


Dignity/Boston's first retreat held at the Christian Formation Center in Andover.

The American Psychiatric Association agrees not to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decriminalizes consentual sexual conduct between adults who had a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

The U.S. Congress fails to pass the "Equality Act of 1974," which would have amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on "sex, marital status, and sexual orientation."

Elaine Noble of Massachusetts becomes the first openly gay person to win election to a state legislature.

Dignity national officers lead Boston delegation in New York gay pride parade.

National Coalition of American Nuns and National Federation of Priests Councils issue statements supporting civil rights for and opposing discrimination against homosexual persons.


Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issues a declaration distinguishing "between homosexuals whose tendency is transitory or at least non-incurable; and homosexuals who are definitely such because of some kind of innate instinct."

Boston hosts the Second Dignity National Convention August 29-September 1 with the theme,
"Enactment of Our Position and Purpose."

Time magazine mentions Dignity/Boston in an article about homosexuality.


United States Catholic Conference. A Call to Action recommends "that the Church encourage and affirm the pastoral efforts of Dignity."

National Conference of Catholic Bishops issues statement saying that "Homosexual activity—as distinguished from homosexual orientation—is morally wrong."

NCCB also states that homosexuals "should not suffer prejudice against their basic human rights."

Brian McNaught joins Dignity/Boston and becomes Mayor's Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community.


Anita Bryant, a fundamentalist Christian popularly known as the spokeswoman for the Florida citrus industry, makes national news when she leads the repeal of a gay rights ordinance in Dade County.

The U.S. State Department announces that it will no longer automatically bar employment based on sexual orientation.

Ellen Marie Barnett becomes the first open lesbian to be ordained as an Episcopal priest.

The National Women's Conference of International Women's Year passes a sweeping gay rights resolution.

Dignity/Boston services move from St. Clement's to Arlington Street Church.

New Ways Ministry is founded to promote justice and reconciliation between lesbian and gay Catholics and the wider Catholic community.

Dignity/Boston's new constitution sets up Executive Board of nine members.

Dignity/Boston becomes incorporated.

Dignity, Inc. National Offices move from Boston to San Diego.


San Francisco mayor George Moscone and openly gay supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated.

Paul VI dies after 15 years as pope. His successor, John Paul I, dies after scarcely a month into his papacy, and is succeeded by John Paul II.

New England Region of Dignity/USA founded. Dignity/Boston receives tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

Dignity/Boston Social Committee dropped, and Friends of Dignity formed to bring the organization into compliance with IRS rules.

Dignity/Boston invites John Boswell to lecture on "Christian History and Homosexuality."


Humberto Cardinal Medeiros issues a pastoral letter on homosexuality proclaiming it to be a "grievous sin." This letter is certainly a response to Dignity/Boston's sending a letter to every priest in the diocese, informing them of the existence and purposes of Dignity.

The first March on Washington by lesbian and gay men. Pope John Paul II visits Boston.

Dignity/Boston PO Box 170428, Boston, MA 02117 | Tel: 617.421.1915 Email: info@dignityboston.org
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