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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 1987

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.
  • More Dignity chapters are informed by their Bishops that they can no longer use Church property. Included are Atlanta, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Nassau, New York, Pensacola, Richmond, Suffolk, Vancouver, BC, Washington DC. The evictions are a direct result of the October, 1986 Vatican Letter which states that groups which do not agree with church teachings cannot meet on church property.
  • On February 7-9, the Board of Directors meets in Miami. Highlights include:
    • Board approval of Guidelines Concerning Adverse Actions Against Dignity Chapters to help chapters to respond to possible evictions in light of the Vatican Letter.
    • Board approval of a full-page advertisement in a national publication to respond to Vatican Letter.
  • On April 22, Jim Bussen, National President, meets in St. Louis with Archbishop John May, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bussen asks May to use his influence in a variety of areas including stopping the expulsion of chapters from church property; issuing an AIDS pastoral letter; instituting a program to educate on lesbian/gay violence; revising the current translation of I Corinthians; and using the terms gay/lesbian when referring to us.
  • On April 27, DignityUSA places a full-page ad in Newsweek magazine in response to the Vatican Letter and the expulsion of chapters from Church property. It is the first time a national gay/lesbian organization has ever bought a full page, full circulation ad. The ad is paid for by a bequest from the estate of John Willig, a longtime Dignity member from Washington, DC. (Time magazine’s advertising department originally approves publication of the ad but Time’s Editorial Board steps in and refuses to publish it.)
  • From September 10-19, Pope John Paul II tours the United States with stops in Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco and Detroit. Peaceful, prayerful, Dignity gatherings greet him at most stops along his journey.
  • People Magazine does a story in conjunction with the Papal Visit entitled: "Nine Americans the Pope Won’t Want to Meet ... and Why." Pictured as one of the nine: National President, Jim Bussen!

  • On October 11, a large contingent from Dignity participates in the national March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.