Cato's David Lampo: Why the GOP Should Embrace Gay Rights

"In most cases, rank-and-file Republicans are already pro-gay rights," says David Lampo, publications director at the libertarian Cato Institute and the author of the new book, A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights.

Despite the influence in the party of social conservatives and the Religious Right, Lampo argues that if Republicans actually followed their own rhetoric about limiting the size and scope of government, they would be able to attract gay and lesbian voters who otherwise vote Democratic. An active member of Virginia's Log Cabin Republicans, Lampo believes the party's acceptance of marriage equality is inevitable given the huge social gains gays have made in recent decades. 

About 5.46 minutes. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain; edited by Swain.

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  • SugarFree||

    NEVER! KULTUR WAR 4EVA!

  • John||

    I keep waiting for the day that the Dems have to go all in to keep the black and Hispanic votes and throw the gays over the side and the Republicans embrace gay rights in return for better treatment from Hollywood and some campaign money.

    Total team switch. It happened with civil rights, whey can't it happen with gay rights?

  • ||

    I think that's entirely plausible.

  • Raston Bot||

    They might lose their non-religious/unitarian white base if they alienated gays.

  • John||

    maybe. But those people are not very likely to vote Republican under any circumstances.

    More likely is that blacks and Hispanics finally decide to be real swing votes and neither party pays any attention to gay rights. And gays and the unitarian types keep voting Democratic because that is what they do.

  • T o n y||

    Black and Latino voters vote more rationally than white christian conservatives. They're not going to let any cultural hangups over homosexuality trump personal economic concerns.

    I know your party is salivating at the prospect of shaving off some minorities with appeals to cultural bigotry--but I'm afraid that while all those Latino immigrants may be bringing along fairly conservative religious practices, they aren't bringing free market dogmatism. Sorry.

  • John||

    Tony,

    They don't like gay people and are in the end more important to the Democrats than gays. So pretty much you better learn to be a Republican or learn to be ignored.

  • Fluffy||

    I see what you're saying, but the real flaw in your analysis is that the basic scenario.

    There will never be a reason for the Dems to have to sacrifice gays to keep the support of blacks, because the black activist base cares about the welfare state and the Civil Rights Act / affirmative action structure and nothing else, and the black electorate does what the activist base tells them to do.

    If blacks cared about Democratic support for gays they wouldn't vote Democrat at 90% majorities.

  • John||

    That is the thing fluffy. It only works provided that blacks are willing to forever vote Democrat. And I don't think that will last forever.

  • T o n y||

    There's absolutely no evidence that the Democratic party is taking a less tolerant stance toward gays or that minorities are going anywhere near the Republican party.

    You know what evidence is? Whatever the self-serving delusions dancing around inside your head, it's the opposite.

  • Rasilio||

    "Black and Latino voters vote more rationally than white christian conservatives. They're not going to let any cultural hangups over homosexuality trump personal economic concerns."

    Ok I keep seeing liberals make statements like this.

    Can you please explain to me the logic and rationale for considering maximizing personal financial gain in voting to be the only rational action?

    This is especially true since you misused the term economic, which is not the study of money but the study of how humans satisfy wants and needs and in an economic sense if a person values something besides maximized financial well being as the higher priority then the rational course would be to vote for whatever politicians they believed would achieve those goals even if it meand sacraficing some financial gain that could potentially be gathered out of the government.

    Is it just that contrary to conventional wisdom it is liberals and not conservatives who are obsessed with money and there for you cannot comprehend anyone valuing anything above money?

  • T o n y||

    Not a bad point; I am using the term "rational" to exclude voting against one's financial best interests in favor of cultural bigotry. Of course conservatives don't think they're doing this--the economic snake oil they believe is packaged in cultural bigotry. It's the primary way Republicans have won elections for the past 40 years or so.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I think it just might happen. Southern strategy in reverse. Hard to say, though.

  • T o n y||

    And so ethically laudable a strategy! John must be so proud to be in a party whose main electoral strategy is fanning the flames of cultural bigotry.

  • ||

    Doesn't it just suck when Those Other Guys steal your team's strategy, Tony?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Jesus said He didn't like the gays and that's good enough for me.

  • Thomas O.||

    [citation needed]

    [and Paul or Old Testament doesn't count]

  • SugarFree||

    The only question the GOP asks itself is: Does the number of votes we could get from economically conservative gays exceed the number of votes we get from so-cons driven by their hatred of gays?

    Not supporting gays just makes sense to firm up its base.

  • ||

    "...to firm up its base."

    In a thread about gays, I see what you did there.

  • ||

    And a firm bottom it is indeed.

  • mgd||

    And what about John's "[minorities] are in the end more important to the Democrats"?

  • John||

    Gays are 2% of the population. And unlike the Dems, the GOPs base really will stay home or vote the other way. The Dems are able to embrace gay rights because the blacks are a solid Dem vote. If that ever changed and blacks started staying home or voting Republicans, the Dems would toss the gays over the side in a heart beat.

  • BakedPenguin||

    More than 2%, although probably well under the 10% figure than Kinsey made up.

  • John||

    It all depends on what "gay" means. If you don't count men who went to English boarding schools or joined the Navy and women who went to women's colleges and were LURDs or maybe did a few things to please a b/f once, and just count people who only or predominantly have relationships with the same sex, you end up with around 2%.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/696.....n-gay.aspx

  • Enough About Palin||

    That link does not support what you wrote.

  • John||

    Thanks Wrong link

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....46348.html

    Gates' best estimate, derived from five studies that have asked subjects about their sexual orientation, is that the nation has about 4 million adults who identify as being gay or lesbian, representing 1.7 percent of the 18-and-over population.

  • Fluffy||

    That's a heck of a definition.

    To me, if you're a guy and sucked one dick, you're gay forever. Bi is a subset of gay.

    "Damn, Fluffy, that's harsh! Here I just sucked one guy off until he came in my mouth, and you want to say that I'm gay as a result! That's SHOCKING. SHOCKING, I tell you!"

  • John||

    But it is the appropriate definition for politics. Just because some girl got it on with some other girl to entertain a b/f once or some guy bought into "its not gay if its away" once, doesn't mean they are going to admit to it much less vote for anything based on it.

  • Randian||

    So you can't be a vegetarian if you ate one piece of meat?

  • Lord Humungus||

    you know who else was a vegetarian? (does this joke ever get old?)

  • SugarFree||

    So you can't be a vegetarian if you ate one piece of meat?

    You can, but only in the sense that vegetarian means "ex-meat-eater."

  • Randian||

    You can, but only in the sense that vegetarian means "ex-meat-eater."

    There obviously should exist a plausible definition that doesn't require meat virginity, I would say.

  • Fluffy||

    There obviously should exist a plausible definition that doesn't require meat virginity, I would say.

    Yes. But there's no plausible definition of gay that includes engaging in gay sex.

    "Virginity" is actually the useful metaphor here. You don't turn into a virgin if you stop having sex. Once you're an ex-virgin, that is what you remain.

  • SugarFree||

    There obviously should exist a plausible definition that doesn't require meat virginity, I would say.

    I think the problem is that calling someone who has engaged in gay sex but doesn't any longer "straight" dilutes the term. "Straight" is someone who has never engaged in gay acts. I don't care what people who have or currently indulge in gay sexual practices call themselves. (I'm not try to say that in a hateful way, it's benign indifference.)

  • Randian||

    I think the problem is that calling someone who has engaged in gay sex but doesn't any longer "straight" dilutes the term. "Straight" is someone who has never engaged in gay acts.

    Like, any at all? I am wildly curious here. I mean, there are teenagers who do mild experimentation with fellow teenage boys, for example. Another would be the aforementioned British boarding schools.

  • SugarFree||

    Like, any at all?

    Not to be unresponsive, but... why is everyone able to define and assign nomenclature to their sexual identity except straight people?

    LGBTQQIA is all acceptable, but S is not?

    There are people who have never had homosexual contact. It's a valid lifestyle choice.

  • Randian||

    I think straight can be defined as those who have never engaged in homosexual conduct.

    I just also happen to think that it can be applied to those who once did engage in such conduct but have since stopped or became disinterested in such conduct.

    Just like a gay guy can be gay even though he was once married to a woman and has a couple of biological kids. I mean, would you insist he wasn't really gay because he's not a vagina virgin?

  • SugarFree||

    If gay people want to define "gay" as never having heterosexual contact, that is their business.

    A better system is probably for people to identify their orientation at the time, i.e. "I am currently hetero-oriented." But I still don't see why there cannot be a term of self-identification for hetero-exclusives, and "straight" seems perfectly serviceable.

  • Randian||

    That's not a logical position to take.

    The problem I have is that if a straight person has had homosexual contact in the past, you are saying that their use of the word "straight" is inaccurate as a descriptor.

    But if a gay man comes out as "gay" after having had a wife and kids, we instantly leap and say "oh man, he said he's gay, so he's gay"

    It is like virginity like that, which I find strange. Once you lose your virginity, it's gone, and so too with straightness, at least according to you.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm not interested in forcing himself to call himself anything. And I will refer to him however he wants until my incredulity is strained to the breaking point.

    What is exactly the problem you have with hetero-exclusives having a single word descriptor for themselves based on their definition of that sexuality, like so many other sexualities have?

  • Mickey Rat||

    "A better system is probably for people to identify their orientation at the time..."

    Sexual orientation is variable? Is that really what you want to say? Because that implies that orientation is a choice, which is usually vehemently denied.

  • Muhammad||

    Being Muslim, I take it in the ass to try to kill the worm inside of me. It's almost like an addiction.

  • Marshall Gill||

    To me, if you're a guy and sucked one dick, you're gay forever. Bi is a subset of gay

    You either suck dick or do not suck dick there is no such thing as Bi. What do you do wake up in the morning and flip a coin. Heads hair pie and tails balls across the nose?

    /Dice

  • ||

    I don't think this is accurate. My sense was that terms like "straight" and "gay" are expressions of one's preference/inclination sexually, not one's action. A straight guy can suck a dick but if he found the experience unpleasant or not especially arousing I'd have a hard time saying he was gay.

  • Kroneborge||

    I think that you are willing to do it pretty much says it all.

  • Fluffy||

    I think the gay-sympathetic portion of the Dem vote is just about every white employed voter they have, though.

  • John||

    True. But that number gets smaller every year. The white population gets smaller and the Dem share of what is left gets smaller.

  • Fluffy||

    It's their entire fundraising base, though.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The only question the GOP asks itself is: Does the number of votes we could get from economically conservative gays exceed the number of votes we get from so-cons driven by their hatred of gays?

    Well, does it, punk?

  • The Hammer||

    Nice.

  • ShagNasty||

    The GOP can't embrace gay rights until a bunch more of the homophobic old people die. Thats really what it comes down to.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I know plenty of middle-aged GOP'ers who are still heavily influenced by the Christian Right.

  • John||

    So do I. Gay rights are supported by a lot fewer people than the media would have you believe. Gay rights is basically stuff white people like. The idea that it will change when all the old people die off seems a bit wishful.

  • Fluffy||

    I think most of the change in gay rights support since 1972 has been driven by demographics.

    Extend that demographic change for 30 more years and what do you get?

  • John||

    But the change in demographic doesn't stay static. The country is getting less white. And support for gay rights is much lower among minorities than it is among Whites.

    Unless immigrants and blacks start getting more gay friendly, the demographics are against it not for it.

  • T o n y||

    Yet polling shows a definite trend toward acceptance.

  • John||

    Not among Hispanics and Blacks it doesn't. Certainly among whites. But whites are not what they used to be.

  • T o n y||

    Really?

    Granted that poll may not actually reflect black views (as explained in the article), but there's no evidence to suggest that support for gay rights is going anywhere but up among all groups.

  • John||

    That is one poll tony. If that were true, gay marriage initiatives might win elections some time.

  • T o n y||

    So where is your poll, the one that supports your claim? Or are you just making up shit to serve a preferred narrative as usual?

    Most minority civil rights issues were resolved in the courts and not by public referenda. Still, we may see gay marriage win a vote in the near future.

    I don't know of anyone here who doesn't believe in inherent civil rights regardless of majoritarian whims, so I don't know what your point might be.

  • John||

    My point is that gay marriage is a political loser. And you can marry whoever you want. You just can't go the government and get a permission ship, which is frankly a blessing. Why the fuck you want to get legally married and be subjected to alimony and having to go to court to break up with someone is beyond me.

    Men do it because women insist. What the hell is your excuse.

  • T o n y||

    I think marriage is an outdated, unnatural institution entangled with religious patriarchy, and have no use for it personally.

    Baseball is another institution I have very little use for. But I would advocate overturning any law that bans minorities from going to baseball games. It's about equal rights under the law.

  • ||

    It's about equal rights under the law getting my share of the government booty and making sure that every person in America pats me on the back for my sexual orientation.

    FIFY

  • calmark||

    John, you're behind the times, and repeating the old conservative line that says blacks and Hispanics are anti-gay. It's just not correct.

    Here's another poll for you:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/154.....ormal.aspx

    55% of whites say homosexuality is morally acceptable; 50% of nonwhites say the same thing. The numbers aren't that different.

  • Enough About Palin||

    BYW, I can't post with Chrome at the moment. WTF?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    me either...but there it is

  • CampingInYourPark||

    When gay activists stop trying to convince people that their gayness is the most important thing in life is when people will stop being afraid of people that think their sexual orientation is the most important thing in life.

  • T o n y||

    Thank you very much for the advice. Now, will straights stop endlessly chattering about bachelorette parties, weddings, their screaming, smelly offspring, how husband won't take the trash out, how that chick has nice tits, holding hands in public, bitching about their relationship misery, and otherwise trying to convince me that their heterosexuality is something I should give a shit about?

  • John||

    It sucks being a small minority.

  • Randian||

    Can't imagine where anyone gets the idea you're a bitchy breeder-hating queen, Tony.

  • T o n y||

    And I can't imagine you convince anyone that you're a devotee of Ayn Rand. You're like mini-John.

  • John||

    Jesus H. Christ Tony, just because your gay doesn't mean you have to be a whiny bitchy queer. There are normal gay people in the world. Why can't you be one of them?

  • T o n y||

    Just because you're a Republican doesn't mean you have to be an epithet-hurling idiot.

  • Tonio||

    Uh....

  • SugarFree||

    Uh, huh. I see how all you people stick together.

  • Randian||

    Wow, and here I thought the gays always had a sharp comeback.

  • SugarFree||

    Tony was gay... who knows what the sockpuppet Tony is?

  • Lord Humungus||

    bonus - no little Tonys.

  • ||

    how that chick has nice tits

    For myself this is pretty much a biological impossibility. You may as well be asking me to stop breathing.

  • T o n y||

    Fine. Then may I engage in various stereotypes without people jumping down my throat about it and offering me a disingenuous bargain that if I just start acting more like a straight guy maybe they'll concede that I deserve equal rights?

  • ||

    Yeah.

    Some people here are being total dicks to you for stupid reasons.

    You will get no argument from me on this issue.

  • calmark||

    I agree. And John is the biggest one.

  • Beefkins||

    Thank you very much for the advice. Now, will gays stop endlessly chattering about weddings, their screaming, smelly adopted kids, how their significant other won't take the trash out, how that guy has a nice ass, holding hands in public, bitching about their relationship misery, and otherwise trying to convince me that their homosexuality is something I should give a shit about?

  • ||

    Thank you. I love that Tony, and other straight married "breeder" bashers, list off all of these things that supposedly makes us repulsive, never acknowledging that those are HUMAN traits and not confined to one sexual orientation or culture.

  • ||

    not to get all "true scotsman" and shit, but imo "real" conservatives should not, and do not think govt. should restrict gay rights.

    iow, it is entirely consistent with conservatism (or libertarianism) to find gay (insert whatever activity here) morally repulsive.

    but it is inconsistent with either to think govt. should in any way restrict what two (or more) consenting adults do with their dicks (or other body parts) in a private setting.

    i think if you look back at the republican goliaths of yore, like goldwater, there are quotes a-plenty that support this pov.

    gay marriage imo is another issue, since it IS a redefinition of marriage and i think "true conservatives" can come down on either side of that debate, recognizing marriage as an evolved institution a la hayek, and not believing that ad hoc decisions to change same should be made for social sensitivity. i'm 100% for gay mariage, fwow.

    certainly, imo, many gay activists (think the parades in san fran) do the cause GREAT HARM just like many pro-pot activists are mj legalization's worst enemies.

    we need businessmen, cops, entrepreneurs, and soccer moms as the face of pro-mj legalization, not stereotypical spicolis.

  • John||

    I am unaware of anyone who is advocating making homosexuality illegal again.

    The issue is gay marriage and treating homosexuality as a protected class for the purpose of employment discrimination.

    I would think most libertarians would agree with conservatives on the protected class issue even if they don't on gay marriage.

    So the question is what gay rights is CATO talking about? Surely CATO is not advocating the creation of a new protected class.

  • Fluffy||

    I am unaware of anyone who is advocating making homosexuality illegal again.

    Are you kidding?

    Left to its own devices, I'm pretty sure the socon electorate would happily criminalize gay conduct again. It's in the Texas GOP platform. At a minimum, the socon electorate would happily ban homosexuals from many types of public employment.

  • John||

    Is that in the national GOP platform? And it is not like anyone is proposing such a thing or it could ever get passed.

    The real debate is marriage and making homosexuality a protected class. I would hope libertarians would not buy into creating a new section of Title IX. But I wouldn't be shocked if fashion caused them to do so.

  • ||

    Is that in the national GOP platform?

    If husband or wife is an occupation then yes it is in the national platform.

    Also soldier, the GOP don't want gays holding that occupation either.

  • Tonio||

    I am unaware of anyone who is advocating making homosexuality illegal again.

    From the Wikipedia article on Family Research Council: In February 2010 the Family Research Council's Senior Researcher for Policy Studies, Peter Sprigg, stated on NBC's Hardball that gay behavior should be outlawed and that "criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior" should be enforced.

    Look forward to your trying to walk that one back, John.

  • ||

    One example doesn't define an entire political party, let alone an entire semi-arbitrary political ideology like "conservatism". I think it's safe to say that criminalizing gay sex is pretty much off the table as a realistic political issue, even at a local level. And even when there were such statutes, they were meaningless since few people who are not homosexuals want to walk in on homosexual sex to bust somebody in the act.

  • Tonio||

    since it IS a redefinition of marriage

    Sure, whatever, but you're playing with words, Dunphy. Nobody is trying to redefine "marriage" to mean "crayon". There are people who get real butt-hurt about expanding the definition of marriage to include same sex couples, but these are often the same people who conveniently forget (or deny) that monogamous hetero marriage is also a redefinition of the historical norm of polygynous (one man, many women) marriage.

  • ||

    You make a really good case for getting the state out of the business of defining people's relationships and bestowing favors (or punishments, as the case may be) on them for it.

    Otherwise, there will never be any such thing as "marriage equality" since by definition, marriage differentiates one person's relationship utterly and completely arbitrarily from another's. Which is why whenever I hear the term "marriage equality", the credibility of the person saying it goes whoosing down the toilet.

  • Pi||

    This calls for a joke about microaggression.

  • SugarFree||

    I prefer macroaggressions.

  • Pi||

    What about miniaggressions?

  • SugarFree||

    Bah. We're agressing here. Pick a side.

  • Pi||

    Why should American voters be content with picking between Team Red and Team Blue when they can pick between Team Macro and Team Micro?

  • SugarFree||

    Mini is an abomination.

  • ||

    Why the GOP Should Embrace Gay Rights

    Giving full throated support of gay rights is a net loss for Republicans. They will lose the Religious vote.

    Better to just ignore the issue entirely like the tea party has. Doing that would be a net gain.

  • Tonio||

    They will lose the Religious vote.

    Well, not quite, since not all religions are anti-gay, but we all know who you mean. However the number of non-religious people is growing and some day the GOP is going to have to face that reality. Not for a few presidential elections, possibly not within my lifetime, but sometime this century.

  • ant1sthenes||

    However the number of non-religious people is growing

    Are we sure about that? Seems like religious folks have more kids, so there are two factors working against each other. Plus, if you're looking at specific countries, you have to consider immigration from very religious areas.

  • ||

    since not all religions are anti-gay

    They pretty much are. Atheist political movements like communists and fascists don't like gays much either. Christians do tend to vote on this issue more then others in the US. I will give you that.

  • ||

    The Christian line on homosexuality was inherited from Judaism, and is also shared by Islam as well. So that covers the big 3 religions that collectively represent nearly half the planet.

  • T o n y||

    And they've gotten so many things right.

  • ||

    My wife and I joined the 1st Presbyterian church here in Dallas specifically because the national church leadership doesn't believe in discriminating against gays (marriage or clergy wise).

  • Thomas O.||

    There's also the growing number of "personally I'm against it but I don't want an anti-gay nanny-state government either" types. If the GOP supplemented their support for gay marriage with strong measures protecting churches from being penalized/sued for anti-gay doctrine, that could strengthen their limited-government and individual-liberty claims.

  • agathis||

    He gets the conservative anger a bit wrong: I doubt conservatives would have been up in arms about a liberal boycott of Chik-Fil-A had not several mayors gone on record saying they wanted to use their power to prevent the company from doing business in their city. That was the real instigation here, that mayors admitted they wanted to use their power in an openly discriminatory way against a political viewpoint. Had that not happened, I doubt the buycott response would have been anything near what it ended up being.

  • seguin||

    That is the only reason I ate at Chik-Fil-A that week. Other than the waffle fries.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Gays don't need special rights. However, society advances when gayness is widely socially-acceptable.

  • rickl7069||

    You need to study your history.
    Thousands of nations have come and gone and a strong gay rights movement has always been a sign that a nation is well on it's way to decline.

  • tiffany||

    In the early stages of a relationship with a guy 25 years my junior (I am 45, he is 20), when we met on cougar dating site,~~~ (C_o_u_G_a_r_K_i_s_s)~~~~ I have to say that the comment about these guys unable to get with a girl their own age has to be way off. My man is very sexy, hot and popular and I’m amazed that he wants to be with me…but also believe he does. My main concern is not other people but my family of 3 children age 10 to 17, do any others have stories of “what the family thinks”?

  • rickl7069||

    Could anyone please explain to me exactly which right that a straight man possesses that a gay man does not. Keep in mind that I'm talking about any made up rights like the right to vote.
    This is not a case of equal rights and the problem would be moot if the government would just get out of the marriage business altogether. People have been getting married since the beginning of time without a U.S. marriage license, and I think that marriage could survive without it today. I would be married to my wife with or without that license - I don't need Uncle Sam's permission to be married.

  • MEC||

    I don't give a F about gay marriage as long as the government doesn't FORCE churches to condone it or perform it. take the lawyers out of the equation and we CAN all get along !!!

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