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A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights Hardcover – June 16, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (June 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442215712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442215719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,629,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Armed with a simple argument—that '[t]he anti-gay agenda of the Christian Right succinctly exposes the hypocrisy of those who talk of limited government and individual rights but ignore both when it comes to gay rights—' Lampo’s sustained, heavily documented study makes its point again and again. Noting that the Founding Fathers were vehemently opposed to the merging of church and state, Lampo addresses the issue of gay rights from all conceivable angles—attacking evangelicals’ efforts to keep talk of high divorce rates among heterosexual Protestants out of public policy discussions, and discussing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; motions by certain Religious Right organizations to restore sodomy laws; and the proposed Defense of Marriage Act. Using numerous quotes and poll results to support his argument, his position is convincing....Though folks opposed to gay rights are his target audience, Lampo’s work will likely find purchase amongst liberals already on the bandwagon. Nevertheless, his parsing of “judicial activism” and “unlimited majoritarianism” is enlightening and thought-provoking. (Publishers Weekly)

Lampo has obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this book, and it is helpful to have such an up-to-date picture of gay rights laws and poll numbers. (National Review)

A Fundamental Freedom is a serious, thoughtful, and important analysis of gay rights and marriage equality from a conservative and libertarian perspective.  It is crucial for Republicans to appreciate the importance of this subject – for the good of the Party, but also for the well-being of this nation. Republicans must stand for decency, respect, and equality for all of our citizens.  Lampo has made an invaluable contribution to this dialogue.   (Ted Olson, U.S. Solicitor General under President George W. Bush, Lead Counsel, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger)

It’s time to move past the divisive lens of the culture war when discussing gay rights and recognize that these debates are fundamentally about the proper limits of government.  David Lampo does just that in his new book, A Fundamental Freedom.  It should be a must read for anyone concerned about building a majority committed to rolling back big government.   (Carrie Lukas, Executive Director, Independent Women’s Forum, Author, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism)

At its historical core, the Republican Party is a political organization committed to individual freedom.  Unfortunately in recent years, many in the GOP have strayed (often far) from that premise, especially in matters involving personal relationships and behavior.  I admit – I was one of them.  But in recent years, I found my way back to the foundation of freedom in this great country, which is maximized individual liberty and minimized government power.  I hope many others will have the courage to reexamine their views on matters of individual liberty, including gay rights, and do the same. A Fundamental Freedom provides a readable and timely explanation of these important issues.   (Bob Barr, Former Representative of Georgia (R-GA))

A Fundamental Freedom is an excellent contribution to the growing movement and argument for why the Republican Party must embrace gay rights, complete with all the history, facts and arguments. As important, Lampo's finger is on the pulse of the tectonic shifts occurring at the foundation of the conservative movement that will make way for it to return to the legacy of freedom and capture a new generation of Americans. (Margaret Hoover, contributor, Fox News; author, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Help)

About the Author

David Lampo, director of publications at the Cato Institute, is a long-time libertarian activist and vice president of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Newsday, National Review, Chicago Tribune, Richmond Times-Dispatch and many other publications. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JimE on June 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Amidst a landscape littered with strong emotions and weak arguments from both sides of the aisle on the issue of LGBT rights, this book brings an objective and well researched opinion that is not easily dismissed. Its primary thesis aside, perhaps the best part of A Fundamental Freedom comes in the form of its very complete history of the conservative movement over the last couple of centuries. Even for those not particularly interested in the subject of LGBT rights, the historical timeline of conservatism presented in this book is not to be missed.
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"A Fundamental Freedom" is chock-full of history and facts about gay and lesbian people in America. Starting with the history of what I see as shameful discrimination of them over the years, the book brings us up to modern times with the progress made in the U.S. toward tolerance (and, dare I say it, one day complete equality) for these people. And the text also points out the benefits to all Americans of treating these people fairly in the land of "liberty and justice for all." You may be surprised by some of the history of legislation touching gay issues, and who supported or did not support what. In any case, reading Lampo's well-written and researched book is a learning experience that I believe every American would benefit from, whether you support certain gay-rights legislation or not. At least you can say you have an informed opinion if you read this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Rebecca Maestri on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Fundamental Freedom is a must read for political junkies, and particularly for Republicans who care to win national elections. Mr. Lampo's well researched book provides an insightful historical perspective of the evolution of the GOP vis-a-vis social issues, and may well forecast a death knell for the party. The recent election results give testimony to Mr. Lampo's premise that woe to the future of the party that veers from its founding principles, coddles religious extremism, and doesn't adapt to a changing social enviornment. Read: same sex marriage referendums passed in the states of Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington - a stark contrast from those of a mere few years ago; and the drubbings enjoyed by misters Akin and Mourdock. As Mr. Lampo advises, Republicans running at the national level, if to be relevant, would do well to heed the party's core values of individual freedom, limited government, strong defense, and free markets rather than embark on the slippery slope of social issues that are best left to responsible individuals, particularly when it comes to equal rights for gay and lesbian tax paying Americans.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. I. Basterian on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Amazon reviewers say:

"... objective, well researched opinion not easily dismissed," without mentioning Lampo's libertarian bias and contempt for religious conservatives.

"... a much-needed history of the Founding Fathers' vehement opposition to the merging of church and state..." a red herring... and ask yourself if the Founders would have dreamed America would ever institute "gay marriage.

"...I've always wondered why the Log Cabin Republicans exist. Torture must be their middle name..." a snarky reference (by a leftist) to the shaky ground Lampo stands on.

My take: Lampo is a passionate libertarian ideologue whose homosexuality must be a huge chip on his shoulder within the conservative world he negotiates. His book is a screed, extraordinarily biased. Though well-researched and effective as a polemic, fundamentally flawed.

Lampo begins by quoting an older Barry Goldwater, whose career was in lockstep for many years with the religious right till he ultimately rejected the pastors after his presidential defeat. Lampo's quote is misleading. "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" essays by Hofstadter make the case that Goldwater was a radical whose partisans didn't give a damn about the GOP. Lampo misses all of this.

Lampo lauds the American Psychiatric Association for their in 1973 cutting out of "The 81 Words" in the DSM-II which ended homosexuality as a mental disorder. In Lampo's world, the psychiatrists are heroes. Perhaps the move was warranted, but it has meant a politically correct ban on unbiased research on the causes of homosexuality. Meanwhile, the "gay gene" remains elusive, despite study after study.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Preston C. Enright on September 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Just saw Lampo's presentation on BookTV, very impressed. "A Fundamental Freedom" provides very hopeful polling data that reveals how gay rights are being increasingly accepted across the political spectrum, including among Tea Partiers who are often exposed to intolerant narratives from radio hosts like Dennis Prager and reactionary forces funded by the Koch brothers The Billionaires' Tea Party.
Lampo also provides a much-needed history of the Founding Fathers' vehement opposition to the merging of church and state, an issue that is particularly acute at institutions like the Air Force Academy With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military.
He also points out that an increasing number of religious conservatives are much more concerned about the destruction of the Lord's creation than they are about gay marriage Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action
While there are many issues on which politicians exhibit a hypocritical stance - such as being for "small government" while advocating for an ever larger Pentagon Why We Fight and a war on cannabis that ensnares hundreds of thousands of people in the prison industrial complex
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