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

Sticking it to the Man

JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater leaves a correctional facility in the Bronx. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

TAP's Take: In Memoriam (Now Available on iTunes!).

On this week's podcast from The American Prospect , Monica Potts , Tim Fernholz , and Jamelle Bouie discuss what Tuesday’s primaries augur for the future and whether far-left loonies are ruining the Obama presidency. Listen Now: To download the mp3 directly, click here . We're now on iTunes! Click "subscribe" to the right to get TAP's Take automatically delivered to your iTunes library every week!

Prop. 8: Shame in Perpetuity.

Today's decision striking down Proposition 8 in the federal court challenge to California's gay-marriage ban is a morale boost for same-sex-marriage supporters who've seen stinging defeats in Maine and New York over the past year. But the celebration will be short-lived. Prop. 8 supporters already have an appeal ready, so the fate of marriage equality in the Golden State will ultimately be decided by the appeals courts. Still, the trial court's 136-page order is remarkable for its legal breadth and its stunning rebuke to the reasoning and motives of same-sex-marriage opponents. I suggested earlier today that Judge Vaughn Walker would take the easy road and choose a relatively noncontroversial justification for striking down Prop. 8. I was wrong. Instead, he invalidated it on the broadest grounds possible. He found that 1) gays qualify as a protected minority; 2) there is no legitimate state interest in restricting marriage to heterosexual couples; and 3) marriage is a fundamental...


Stuart Gaffney, center, holds up a sign while celebrating the decision in the United States District Court proceedings challenging Proposition 8. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Prop. 8 Decision Won't Necessarily Be a Slam Dunk.

Today, everyone's waiting for Judge Vaughn Walker to hand down his decision in the Prop. 8 case -- the federal challenge to California's gay-marriage ban. Conventional wisdom is that he'll overturn the ban. However, Walker's ruling won't necessarily be a slam dunk for gay rights. The judge is bound by precedent and his decision needs to withstand the appeal process. Basically, there are three major questions Walker has to answer: 1. Do gays qualify as a protected minority? 2. Is there a good enough reason to restrict marriage to just straight people? 3. Is marriage -- in particular, same-sex marriage -- a fundamental right? Ruling in favor of same-sex-marriage proponents on any one of these motions will likely lead Walker to overturn Prop. 8; he needn't find in favor of Boies and Olson on all of them. The least controversial thing he could do would be to rule that there is no good reason to restrict marriage to straight people (no. 2). This is what happened in another gay-rights case...