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

Give Them Papers, Please!

The long-term solution to the federal-state standoff over immigration isn't litigation.

(Flickr/HalinaV)
In the legal battle over Arizona's "papers, please" law, SB 1070, the only part left standing after today's Supreme Court decision is the "papers, please" part. The Court found that Arizona does not have the authority to make unlawful presence in the country a separate state crime; to make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work or seek work; or to arrest someone without a warrant if there is "probable cause" they've committed a deportable offense. (For more on the legal implications of the decision, see Garrett Epps's analysis .) But the Court upheld SB 1070's most contentious provision, Section 2(b), which allows police officers to try to determine the immigration status of someone they have "reasonable suspicion" is in the country illegally. The justices, however, said they were open to reviewing civil-rights concerns with the provision once it had been implemented. Because the law was written in a way that forbids racial profiling—at least in theory—the Court...

The Price of Prejudice

Amendment One passed yesterday, 61-39 percent, making North Carolina the 30th state to put a ban on same-sex marriage right in the state constitution.

(AP Photo/Jerry Wolford, News-Record )
Another day, another damned defeat. It wasn't much of a surprise. Despite heroic efforts by gay-rights activists , yesterday North Carolinians amended their state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Amendment One passed by an overwhelming 22-percent margin. Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina by statute, but amending the constitution ensures that state courts can't overturn the law. (Small consolation prize: Obama says he’s “disappointed” that voters in North Carolina didn’t “evolve” any faster than he has . [ UPDATE ]: The president declared his support for marriage equality today.) For supporters of gay rights, it's another setback in a war that, overall, seems to be going the right way. But it's disappointing nonetheless, and there are a few things that are both telling and especially harmful about the gay-marriage ban in North Carolina. Opponents of marriage equality in the state weren't just satisfied with stopping gay people...

My So-Called Ex-Gay Life

A deep look at the fringe movement that just lost its only shred of scientific support.

Early in my freshman year of high school, I came home to find my mom sitting on her bed, crying. She had snooped through my e-mail and discovered a message in which I confessed to having a crush on a male classmate. “Are you gay?” she asked. I blurted out that I was. “I knew it, ever since you were a little boy.” Her resignation didn’t last long. My mom is a problem solver, and the next day she handed me a stack of papers she had printed out from the Internet about reorientation, or “ex-gay,” therapy. I threw them away. I said I didn’t see how talking about myself in a therapist’s office was going to make me stop liking guys. My mother responded by asking whether I wanted a family, then posed a hypothetical: “If there were a pill you could take that would make you straight, would you take it?” I admitted that life would be easier if such a pill existed. I hadn’t thought about how my infatuation with boys would...

Don't Blame the National Organization for Marriage

The group's race-baiting tactics only work if the gay and African American communities let them.

(Flickr/ Lost Albatross)
In case anyone thought the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was around to promote racial harmony, unsealed strategy memos, recently released as part of a court case, show that this is the last thing on the group's mind. Since 2009, NOM has tried to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" by publicizing prominent black leaders' opposition to marriage equality and goading members of the gay community into denouncing them as "bigots." NOM also sought to "interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity" and "identify glamorous young Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities willing to stand for marriage." The goal: to incite resentment between key Democratic constituencies in order to make supporting marriage equality toxic for politicians. For any political organization, having the cold political calculus of its leaders exposed is unseemly, and many gay-rights...

Absolutely Comfortable

A Washington state senator's change of heart on same-sex marriage offers a lesson in humanism.

Yesterday evening, Washington state Senator Margaret Haugen came out in support of the state's proposed gay-marriage law, giving the Senate the key 25th vote to ensure passage; the measure already has enough support in the house, and the governor has agreed to sign it. Haugen released a statement that's been making the rounds on the Internet to explain her position, which you can read in full here : To some degree, this is generational. Years ago I took exception to my parents' beliefs on certain social issues, and today my children take exception to some of mine. Times change, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I think we should all be uncomfortable sometimes. None of us knows everything, and it's important to have our beliefs questioned. Only one being in this world is omniscient, and it's not me. ... For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day. ... But this issue isn't about just what I believe. It...

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