|Reform of the Penal Code|
|The "Scientific Humanitarian Committee" (Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee - WhK) - co-founded by Hirschfeld in 1897 - was the first organization of homosexual men and women. The WhK fought for the repeal of article 175 of the Imperial Penal Code, which criminalized "coitus-like" acts between men. The WhK assisted defendants in criminal trials and campaigned for social recognition of homosexual men and women. As early as 1898, a petition for the repeal of article 175 of the Imperial Penal Code was submitted to Parliament, with renewed attempts in 1922 and 1925 2 .
The WhK had its headquarters at the Institute until Hirschfeld's resignation as president in 1929 1 . Together with the Institute's sexual reform department, the WhK's campaign for a reform of the penal code relied on scientific evidence that homosexuality was a natural predisposition.
Institute staff members were the driving force in the campaign to reform the penal code, first conducted by an "action committee" ("Aktions-Ausschuß") - a coalition of homosexual organizations - and later by the "Cartel for the Reform of Sex Crimes Legislation" ("Kartell für Reform des Sexualstrafrechts") - a broad alliance of left-liberal movements for sexual reform. The Cartel submitted a counter-proposal for those sections of the penal code dealing with sexual matters (homosexuality, prostitution, adultery, abortion), which stipulated that punishment should be incurred only
"if the act is performed using threats or violence, or with a sexually immature partner or one incapable of consent, or in such a way as to offend public decency." 3
In 1929, a Reichstag committee, with the votes of left and liberal parties, decided to repeal the article on homosexuality. This resolution, however, did not come to a vote in Parliament before the National Socialists came to power.