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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 1977

The following history is based on the commemorative booklet entitled DignityUSA at 25: A Chronology, 1969-1994 compiled by former DignityUSA President Pat Roche. Copies are available from the Dignity national office and were also printed in the Dignity Journal 27:2-3 (Autumn 1995). Highlights from 1995-Present compiled by former Dignity Vice President Pat McArron.
  • In January, Dignity sends letters to all Roman Catholic members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the national gay rights bill.
  • On May 2-5, the NCCB meets in Chicago and votes to refer the 182 resolutions from the Call to Action conference in Detroit to various NCCB committees for further consideration. Included are resolutions commending Dignity’s ministry and challenging the church "to root out those structures and attitudes, which discriminate against homosexuals as persons." Most resolutions concerning Dignity and homosexuality are referred to the Pastoral Research and Practices Committee, headed by Bishop James Hickey.
  • In June, a gay rights ordinance is defeated in Dade County, Florida with the help of Anita Bryant and Archbishop Coleman S. Carroll of Miami. Dignity with others in the gay community counteract Bryant’s "Save Our Children" campaign by launching a counter-offensive called "We ARE Your Children."
  • On June 20, the report on sexuality commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America is published in a book entitled Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought.
  • On June 26, the National Assembly of Religious Brothers passes a resolution that states: "Be it resolved that we support gay men and women in their struggle for human rights and dignity."
  • On July 1, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle issues an important statement condemning discrimination against homosexuals and offering his support for civil rights legislation.
  • On July 29-30, over 400 delegates attend a National Gay Leadership Conference in Denver co-sponsored by Dignity, M.C.C., the National Gay Task Force and the Gay Rights National Lobby. The goals of the conference are to carefully analyze and learn from the defeat of the gay rights bill in Dade County; assist local people in the field to build effective media, lobbying and religious education programs; to develop resolutions of unified action in support of civil rights. Every gay organization in the country is invited to send two delegates to the conference. Paul Diederich convenes the conference on Friday evening by introducing keynote speakers Ginny Apuzzo (GRNL), Jean O’Leary (NGTF) and the Reverend Troy Perry (MCC).
  • In October, the national office is relocated to San Diego.
  • With the Fall edition, INSIGHT becomes the publication of Dignity/Brooklyn and the cover price is $2.00. It is printed on heavy stock paper and has 22 pages.
  • In 1977, Jeannine Gramick, SSND and Robert Nugent, SDS, co-found New Ways Ministry, a ministry of Reconciliation and Social Justice for Catholic gay and lesbian persons and other sexual minorities, their families and friends and the Catholic community. The ministry is involved in conducting workshops, retreats, talks, counseling, consultation and research.

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