The Pride Interfaith Coalition is an independent organization dedicated to advocating the full inclusion of LGBT people of faith in Boston. It is the longest-serving LGBTQ interfaith organization in the nation. We host an annual Pride Interfaith Service on the morning of Boston Pride. Pride Interfaith Coalition is comprised of representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender religious and spiritual communities in the greater Boston area. We seek to promote and extend the understanding and cooperation among groups and individuals of all religious and spiritual faiths and traditions,and to bring attention to issues of social concern that affect us all. Pride Interfaith Coalition stands against racism, sexism, classism, or any other forms of separatism, and actively works to eradicate such divisions in our community.
The creation of what ultimately was named Pride Interfaith Coalition was a response to a planned visit to Boston by Anita Bryant in 1978, a popular singer from the 1960s, who was heading a campaign to repeal a Dade County, Florida (Miami) ordinance that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. Led by the Rev. Bob Wheatly, the group formed a protest march against her visit, and that same year hosted what would be the first of our annual services. The first Pride Interfaith Service was held at Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Boston on the 17th of June, 1978.
The coalition strives to be expansive in its inclusiveness. This is evident when reviewing the different names by which the coalition has referred to itself over the past three decades: Boston Gay Religious Coalition (1978 to early-1980s), Greater Boston Lesbian and Gay Interfaith Coalition (early-1980s to 1984), Greater Boston Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Interfaith Coalition (1985 to 1996), and Pride Interfaith Coalition (1997 to present). In 1992, due to a change in the Pride Parade route, the coalition held its Pride Interfaith Service at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (Episcopal Church) on Beacon Hill. In 1993, with the parade lineup moved to Copley Square, the coalition began holding its annual service at the Old South Church (United Church of Christ) where it has been held every year except in 2007 when Union United Methodist Church in the South End hosted the service. Starting in 2014, we have once again partnered with Union UMC to open space for our community to gather.