Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a freelance journalist, and former staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Not Just Marriage: The Other Fights for Gay and Trans Rights

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It's already clear that gay marriage will be, once again, a major issue this year. Today, in a major victory for gay marriage advocates, a panel of federal judges ruled California's gay marriage ban is constitutional. Last week, the Washington state Senate approved a bill recognizing same-sex marriage, paving the way for gay marriage to become law. But the fight for same-sex marriage is only a piece of a larger civil rights struggle. And with all eyes focused on the issue of matrimony, it's easy to miss some of the other battlegrounds. For instance, parental rights has long been an issue for gay couples concerned about legal protections. In Iowa, health officials are looking to the courts for how to identify same-sex couples with children. According to the Muscatine Journal , last month, the Polk county court ruled the state should list both the birth mother and her female partner as the parents of one child, conceived through an anonymous sperm donor. The Iowa Department of Public...

Whatever Happened to Christine O'Donnell?

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Christine O'Donnell may not be a witch , but it appears she's also not much of a political figure. Just when we'd almost forgotten about the woman who seemed to spend her youth making unfortunate statements to Bill Maher, the Wilmington News Journal offered a damning look at the former candidate who garnered national attention in 2010 when her upstart Tea Party campaign defeated Congressman Mike Castle, the Republican establishment pick, in the GOP primary for Delaware's U.S. Senate seat. The campaign soon turned into burning mess that most of us watched with a combination of shock and schaudenfreude as bizarre statements she'd made in her youth, including some about witchcraft, came to light. She was trounced in the general election by her Democratic opponent. Since then, we now learn, things seem to have spiraled. The News-Journal article, which features several D.C. talking heads dismissing O'Donnell's future, outlines just about every way in which O'Donnell's career seems to be...

Does Right to Work Actually Lead to More Jobs?

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Most people watching the Super Bowl last night probably had no idea that only a few days before, in the same city of Indianapolis, Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law that will cripple unions. As I've written before, Indiana is the first Rust Belt state to pass a right-to-work law, which prohibits both mandatory union membership and collecting fees from non-members. The news, however, has hardly gotten the attention the labor-minded might have expected. Blame it on the big game or the GOP presidential primary. Or blame it on the loss of union power that allowed the law to pass in the first place. Whatever the reason, this lack of stories has meant little discussion of the actual impact of right-to-work legislation. Daniels, along with many proponents of such measures, argues that companies choose to locate in right-to-work states rather than in states with powerful unions. And the Indiana governor says he's already seeing the fruits of the newly passed law. Union advocates, meanwhile...

State of the Week

Each Friday—well at least most Fridays—I'm going to sum up the big news happening in states around the country. To make it more interesting, I'm naming a State of the Week where the biggest news came from. See something that's missing? Tell me: arapoport@prospect.org or on Twitter @RaRapoport. And this week's state of the week is ... Washington! Gay marriage moves forward It's not law yet, but Washington's state Senate passed legislation to recognize same-sex marriages . The bill now goes to the state House, where it's expected to pass, and then to the governor, who already announced her support for the measure. While many state legislatures are considering similar bills, Washington's effort is by far the most likely to be fruitful. But the good news for gay-rights advocates hardly means they can relax. Opponents are already organizing against the measure , hoping to put it on a state referendum this fall. Right-to-Work Enters the Union Stronghold Moving at lightning speed, Indiana's...

In Case You Were Underestimating ALEC's Role

Florida Representative Rachel Burgin recently filed a pretty typical bill for a conservative Republican, asking the federal government to lower corporate taxes. But there was one thing that made Burgin's measure a little unusual: It began by stating the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That's likely because Burgin's bill had its origins with the corporate-funded nonprofit. Most Americans have never heard of ALEC. The innocuously named group offers a meeting ground for conservative state legislators and corporations. The organization boasts nearly 2,000 members and partnerships with almost 300 corporations and private nonprofits. The "partnerships" give major businesses the opportunity to shape policy in states around the country. Last year, The Nation embarked on a six-part series called "ALEC Exposed," investigating the group's overwhelming influence on everything from deregulation to privatizing education to killing off unions. But much of the group...

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