Gabriel Arana

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.

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Recent Articles

The Continued Fight for Gay Rights in D.C.

This morning, Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend were the first couple to legally get married in the nation's capital. At 1 p.m. the pair was still giving interviews to the press outside the Human Rights Campaign building, fielding questions about who made Angelisa's dress (a friend who works at Howard University) and how they intended to celebrate (sleep). What struck me about them was how ordinarily they portrayed their lives -- and how meaningful it was to have their 12-year-long relationship "official." In a sense, that's been the goal of the gay-rights movement all along: to live ordinary lives with the implicit support of our communities behind us. Today's a day to celebrate, though perhaps guardedly. Harry Jackson 's appeal to the Supreme Court to stop marriage equality from going into effect before a citywide referendum might have been denied, but there are still a few ways gays could be stripped of marriage rights: 1. The initiative process. Now that marriage equality is in...

Why Are Religious People More Racist?

A recent analysis of religious attitudes by researchers at Duke, USC, and Augsburg College reaches the conclusion that religious people tend to be more racist -- and the more religious you are, the more racist you tend to be. It may come as no surprise that some Christians may not practice what they preach, but what is noteworthy about the study is that it draws a causal link between the structure of religious organizations and racism. The authors note that religion promotes conformity and respect for tradition. Moreover, it tends to be practiced within race, promoting "in-group identity." Racist attitudes may emerge when "different others" appear to be in competition for resources. The competing-for-resources analysis is a favorite of evolutionary psychologists, who will invent a Darwinian backstory for all the inane things we do, whether or not they have anything to do with survival. But even if it is true that group membership makes you more likely to denigrate "the other," leaving...

Gay? Check Yes or No

Penn just announced they would use admissions data about sexual orientation to recruit gay students. But does that really open the door for true diversity?

Every year, thousands of high school students spend months focused on the art of self presentation. They cram for standardized tests, pen soul-baring essays, and join clubs to beef up their resumés. College applications force students into the daunting task of reducing their lives and accomplishments to a series of checkmarks, numbers, and writing prompts. For gay and lesbian students, the process is further fraught by the decision of whether to identify as gay -- and if so, how to indicate it on the application. Do you write your application essay about coming out? Or will admissions officers get the point if you list the Gay-Straight Alliance under your activities? Thanks to a decision from the University of Pennsylvania's admissions office, answering these questions may soon be a lot easier. Last week, the Ivy League university announced it would provide a space on its admissions application for students to indicate their sexual orientation and use current gay students to recruit...

Why Do Poor People Vote as if They Were Rich?

Democrats have long had trouble understanding why certain people who stand to benefit from the social safety net vote for Republicans. Many chock it up to "values" and identity interests trumping economics . Last year, Tom Jacobs at Alternet argued that conservatives live in a different "moral universe" from liberals, which makes them immune to liberal rhetoric. This may account for "values voters," but this doesn't account for those who extol the virtues of the market that shortchanges them. In his response to the National Review cover story that Mori previously mentioned , Damon Linker stumbles onto a possible reason for the disconnect: Like many conservatives, Lowry and Ponnuru appear to be untroubled by the chasm that separates [the rich and poor]. Sure, it’s a source of “political tension.” But it’s nothing to be overly concerned about, because, they tell us, a 2003 Gallup poll showed that “31 percent of Americans expect to get rich, including 51 percent of young people and more...

Let's Be Rational About Sex

Opponents of gay rights have long relied on disgust to justify discrimination. Recent legal gains suggest this argument is losing its potency.

(Flickr/MV Jantzen)
From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law by Martha C. Nussbaum, Oxford University Press, 217 pages, $21.95 The most incendiary evidence presented in court last January in the effort to overturn California's Proposition 8 -- the ban on same-sex unions adopted by the state's voters in 2008 -- dealt with whether prejudice had motivated the ban's advocates. Video footage and documents from the "Yes on 8" campaign showed its organizers claiming, for example, that gays are 12 times more likely than straight people to molest children and that the "homosexual agenda" includes legalizing pedophilia. If gay marriage were allowed to continue in California, one "Yes on 8" organizer wrote, "every child, when growing up, would fantasize [about] marrying someone of the same sex." And if the measure did not pass, he warned, the states would fall "one by one into the hands of Satan." In a simulcast rally, campaigners compared gay marriage to September 11. To many Americans,...