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Dr. Mary Hunt

Dr. Hunt’s keynote address is entitled “Faithful and Fabulous: Dignity on the Road at Forty.” Elaborating on this theme, she writes, "I will explore how we (DignityUSA) have been faithful to our Catholic roots, faithful to the needs of our LGBTQ community, faithful to other justice movements (including feminism, anti-racism, etc.). I will observe how, in my view, we have provided a fabulous way of living the Gospel, being community, and serving the world. My conclusion will be a look ahead to our challenges."

A longtime member, friend and ally of DignityUSA, Dr. Hunt is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues. Dr. Hunt received the Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California; the Masters in Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; and the Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her undergraduate degree in Theology and Philosophy is from Marquette University. She has lectured and taught at numerous institutions, and is an active member of several academic societies and editorial boards. She is an advisor to the Women's Ordination Conference, a member of the advisory boards of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion and of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Religious Archives Network. Dr. Hunt was a featured speaker at Dignity/Chicago's 35th Anniversary Celebration, May 19, 2007, delivering an address entitled "More Dignified as We Get Older.”

Mr. Richard Rodriguez

Concerning his keynote address, Mr. Rodriguez comments, "... I want to talk about the most essential issue in the struggle for gay rights, ‘The Freedom to Love.’ Deeper than the freedom to marry, or join and serve in our military services as an openly gay person, or resist discrimination in our civic lives, is the most essential human freedom of all, the freedom to love, denied homosexuals. Worse, the institution that teaches us to love and that professes the centrality of love, the Catholic Church, is the same institution that describes or defines homosexual love, or physical expression thereof, as immoral, sinful and objectively disordered. The institutional Roman Catholic Church promulgates its teaching and guidelines for pastoral ministry to homosexual persons admonishing Thou Shalt Not Love Same Gender Persons.”

A native San Franciscan and an active Catholic, Mr. Rodriguez is a journalist and a literary essayist. Recently, with the publication of Brown: The Last Discovery of America, he completed an autobiographical trilogy concerned with class, ethnicity, and race in the United States. As a journalist, he writes for several publications worldwide, including his monthly column in the Roman Catholic TABLET (London), and also serves as editor for New America Media (San Francisco). His television essays for the "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS have been honored by a Peabody award, and in 1993 he was awarded the Frankel Medal (since renamed the National Humanities Medal) -- the highest award of the federal government celebrating work done in the humanities. Mr. Rodriguez received his B.A. from Stanford University and his M.A. from Columbia University, was a Ph.D. candidate in English Renaissance literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and attended the Warburg Institute in London on a Fulbright fellowship.

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