‘Homosexuality’ to finally be removed from Pennsylvania’s crime code

Revelers hold up LGBTQ+ Pride flags as they participate in the Philadelphia LGBT Pride Parade through the city's "Gayborhood" and downtown historic district in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s House unanimously voted to remove the word “homosexuality” from the definition of prohibited sexual acts in the state crimes code.

State legislators in the state’s House passed House Bill 2125 (HB 2125) on Wednesday (8 June) with a landslide 198-0 vote. The bill now heads to Pennsylvania’s Senate. 

Pennsylvania’s state law currently defines sexual activity, under “prostitution”, to include “homosexual and other deviate sexual relations”, the Associated Press reported. 

Under the bill, the new definition includes “sexual intercourse and deviate sexual intercourse … and any touching on the sexual or other intimate parts of an individual for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either person”. 

The bill will also erase “homosexuality” completely from the state’s definition of sexual conduct in a section on “obscene and other sexual materials and performances”. 

Out state representative Malcolm Kenyatta, who got married in February, said the existing state law left Pennsylvania residents vulnerable to losing their homes, jobs or livelihoods “simply because of who they are and who they love”. 

“I hope that we have these same votes for enshrining nondiscrimination protections, which we sorely need to do,” Kenyatta said.

Democratic state representative Dan Frankel said the current law’s language is “cruel and absurd” and called on members to push forward more anti-discrimination legislation. 

“In this general assembly, sadly, it’s a huge lift to merely agree that being gay shouldn’t be illegal,” Frankel said.

Revelers hold up a sign reading "Love wins" in rainbow coloured letters as they participate in the Philadelphia LGBT Pride Parade through the city's "Gayborhood" and downtown historic district in Pennsylvania

A Democratic lawmaker described the current language of Pennsylvania’s law as “cruel and absurd”. (Michael Candelori/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty)

Sadly, this week Pennsylvania lawmakers have also advanced cruel legislation that would ban trans students from fully participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identity. 

The Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 1191 (SB 1191) on Tuesday (7 June) by a 30-20 vote, passing it to the House. Another trans sports ban bill was previously approved in the House in April.

The Republican-backed bill would prevent trans students at public K-12 schools and colleges from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams. 

Democratic governor Tom Wolf reiterated his plans to veto the hateful bill on Twitter, urging conservative lawmakers to “leave trans kids alone”

“Pennsylvania’s Republican lawmakers are celebrating Pride Month by advancing legislation targeting trans kids,” he wrote. “As I’ve said, I will veto this bill if it makes it to my desk.”

He added: “Leave trans kids alone. Stop the political stunts and focus on the real problems facing Pennsylvanians.”

Last year, Wolf promised to veto another trans sports ban bill, which he described as “discriminatory”, as it made its way through the state legislature.