Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist for The American Prospect. She is research director of People for the American Way, and a winner of the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism.

Recent Articles

A Feminist Folk Hero (Sort Of)

The announcement of Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation from the Supreme Court heralds a dark road ahead for women -- not just because she will undoubtedly be replaced by some reactionary right-winger but because women will lose a genuine advocate and protector on the high court. When, in 1981, Ronald Reagan introduced the nation to Sandra Day O'Connor, his first nominee to the Supreme Court, feminists looked on warily. It figured, we thought, that the increasingly anti-woman GOP would be the first to land a woman on the high court. Would she turn out to be a Margaret Thatcher -- an iron lady sent to do the right's bidding? In fact, she turned out to be anything but, often foiling right-wing justices by joining the somewhat liberal wing in its decisions. It was O'Connor who consistently upheld the rights of women to labor free of sexual harassment in the workplace, joining the majority in the Court's precedent-setting 1986 decision Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson , the case that...

Paper Anniversary

It was a June wedding, in the country fashion -- homemade, outdoors, with neighbors from miles around proudly proffering plates brimming with the fruits of their gardens and ovens. The collection of cakes, some homely but most of them exquisite, occupied a table of their own, with a somewhat artless attempt at the classic tiered wedding cake holding court in the center. Crowned with an approximated take on the standard happy-couple cake topper, the confection featured a bride dressed in white -- and another decked out in blue. That was 11 years ago, and, tasked with finding a bride-and-bride cake decoration for the commitment ceremony of my friends Jackie and Beth, I threw up my hands after walking the length and breadth of Manhattan Island, seeking the illusive tchotchke. So I went to a crafts store in Jersey, bought a couple of doll forms, and made my own damn lesbian brides, smirking all the while at the subversive, voodoo feel of the work. These days, same-sex cake toppers are...

Benedict's Edicts

Imagine, if you can bear it, Tom DeLay as the president of the United States. With its election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy, the College of Cardinals has committed an act roughly analogous to that (except for the funny money, of course). Cardinal Ratzinger earned his way into the heart of Pope John Paul II by acting as the latter's enforcer, flexer of the magisterial muscle, the guy who launched a cunning campaign against all those "Kumbaya"-singing nuns, priests, prelates, and theologians who dared to take issue with the most draconian of the Church's doctrines: those that condemned women to a life of biological destiny; queer people to a stigmatized life of chastity; and divorced people to a status of unworthiness when it came to the central rite of the Catholic Mass, the partaking of Holy Communion. It is difficult to imagine just what the cardinals hope to achieve with the election of Ratzinger. Unlike John Paul II, he bears no sign of warmth, no compassion to...