I believe the sitcom "Soap" was the first show to feature an openly gay character. Billy Chrystal play the character, I think his name was "Jody". It is also my thought that Peppermint Patty and Darcy , from the Snoopy shows, were the first gay couple on tv:)
"In 1971 in All In The Family Mike's friend Roger is gay, becoming the first gay character depicted on TV." Actually, according to USA Today's Christine Sparta, Roger was thought to be gay but was actually straight. Archie's "macho bar buddy Steve" turns out to be gay.