Participants of the 2016 Pride Parade through downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

PA Republicans’ Vote Not to Remove “Homosexuality” From State Obscenity Law Draws the Ire It Deserves

"Put simply, the PA GOP is fine with homosexuality being considered a crime."

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Pennsylvania Republicans showed their true colors, just in time for Pride Month, by voting down an attempt to “remove homosexuality from the state’s obscenity statute,” according to LGBTQNation. The memo attached to the appeal noted that “current state laws still prohibits the distribution to minors of materials such as books, pictures, and videos which depict “acts of homosexuality.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Zabel sponsored the bill that was voted down in a Republican-controlled chamber. Joining him in calling out the Republicans was Rep. Malcoln Kenyatta who tweeted out, “Put simply the PA GOP is fine with homosexuality being considered a crime.” And out state Rep. Brian Sims tweeted, “May you never have to see your colleagues vote to keep the ways you love a ‘crime.'”

This decision by the Republicans is one of cowardice. It’s a regressive power move meant to show the Republican caucus that they see homosexuality as something wrong, and it sickens me to my core that homosexuality is listed together with “sexual bestiality” in the Title 18 statute on obscenity.

And even though some are calling it a “symbolic” move, not only is it symbolic of hate, but the matter of the fact is that someone will use this statute as a means of not displaying, selling, distributing, or exhibiting materials that contain homosexuality. This statute is tailor-made for homophobes in 2021 who want to “protect” the youth from what they deem immoral and wrong.

Ultimately, this is all a garbage move by Republicans meant to crush the writing, printing, publishing, and sharing of homosexual content. It’s meant to separate LGBTQ content from the mainstream and dub it “obscene” instead of normal. And the internet ain’t having it.

So, keep at it, homophobic Republicans. Pennsylvania Democrats aren’t going to sit back and let you keep this archaic law. They will fight for the future of the LGBTQ community in this state and obliterate homophobic statutes like this. Plus, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is fully up for reelection every two years, with the next in 2022.

It’s ample time to take control back and show those Republicans what a real democracy, which works for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all, really looks like.

(image: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.