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pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers voted to erase "homosexuality" from state criminal codes.

Despite major strides in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, there is always something else to fight for. Sometimes, it's creating new changes to make things a little bit safer for people. But sometimes, it's about looking back in the past and seeing how existing laws and beliefs could still harm people. Changing the way we talk about members of the community is one of the easiest ways to reduce harm, and it looks like politicians in Pennsylvania have realized that.

Recently, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to erase the word "homosexuality" from the definition of prohibited acts in the state's Crimes Code. The Associated Press reported a unanimous 198-0 vote was on a bill to clean up outdated language, because, as the supporters of the change rightfully pointed out, it's not a crime to be gay.

“This bill provides a long overdue update to our crimes code to ensure nobody is prosecuted because of who they love,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), as reported by the Associated Press.

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On July 17, Tucker Carlson aired an inflammatory segment entitled "Gypsies: Coming to America," about rising tensions between residents of California, Pennsylvania —a small borough near Pittsburgh — and a group of Roma who recently settled there.

Carlson noted that about 40 "gypsies" are "seeking asylum, saying they suffered racism in their native Romania," and they were placed in the town "by the federal government," only to spurn local culture by engaging in "public defecation" and slaughtering chickens in view of residents.

It was an ugly segment, recalling some of the worst of anti-Roma propaganda. Unsurprisingly, it was based on a wildly ungenerous reading of the facts.

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Over 300 people gathered in a cornfield chapel on Sunday, July 9.

Sister Janet McCann at the chapel's dedication. Photo from David Jones/Lancaster Against Pipelines, used with permission.

The chapel, a bare bones structure, rose out of a clear plot in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There are no walls; its boundaries are marked by tall rows of growing corn. Any breeze that blew over the rows must have been welcome — the temperatures had been hovering around the 80s pretty much all week.

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Before a Pride parade in 1978, artist Gilbert Baker designed the first rainbow flag.

He dyed strips of fabric in eight colors and stitched them together. The positive response was almost immediate.

"We stood there and watched and saw the flags, and their faces lit up," gay rights activist Cleve Jones told The New York Times. "It needed no explanation. People knew immediately that it was our flag."

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