Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
Kathy Stickel at a gay-rights supporter rally the day before election day in Portland, Maine, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
On Nov. 4, 2008, when the polls closed on the West Coast and media outlets reported that California voters had passed Proposition 8, gay-rights supporters across the country were stunned. How could the purported gay haven of California—home to Hollywood, Harvey Milk, and the Castro—have rejected same-sex marriage?
In a story that's provoked justified outrage, the Army has threatened single military mom Spc. Alexis Hutchinsonwith a military court marshal for refusing leave her 10-month-old and ship off to Afghanistan when none of her family members could care for the child. In a compassionate display of flexibility, her superiors offered her the alternative of putting the child in foster care. The whole episode seems to be a the result of military keeping an inadequate and inconsistent family policy.
Lou Dobbs' abrupt departure from CNN seems to be the product of ongoing wrangling between the anchor and network executives, who gave him the choice of either making his show more "objective" or resigning.
Today, the Senate joined the House in passing the Matthew Shepard Act, which
provides for stricter sentences if a crime appears to be motivated by anti-gay bias.
It's near certain that Obama will sign it, giving the Human Rights Campaign
a public relations boost and likely a fundraising bump. But in reality, the lobbying crusade for this legislation doesn't amount to much more than wasted effort and lost opportunity.