Social Conservatism and the Constitution

Thus, on these controversial issues, social conservative activists submit to the Constitution’s amendment processes while social liberal activists usurp them. It should be noted that there are other cultural issues that don't cause social conservatives to push for a constitutional amendment. For example, in parts of Nevada, prostitution is legal. Most social conservatives take issue with the lottery and other forms of gambling. In these cases, states have produced results that social conservatives may consider “unpalatable” but the decisions were made through the democratic process and can be changed through it. In addition, there has been no effort to universalize these issues through the court system.

The Constitution should not be used as a device for general legislation. However, there are times when certain issues can only be resolved through the amendment process. Such was the case with slavery, guaranteeing equal rights for minorities, and voting rights for women. In these cases, the Constitution was changed, with the consent of 3/4 of the states, to address a fundamental issue.

Some problems cannot simply rest as a question of local discretion. In Abraham Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech, he declared, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”

Abortion and marriage are of similar cultural importance. They must be settled for us to remain one nation. While states can have different speed limits and different tax systems, we cannot hope to remain a united country if one state views an action as barbaric murder while its neighbor views it as a surgical procedure similar to having a tooth pulled. Since these issues must be settled once and for all, preserving American liberty requires this be done in a democratic way rather than in a dictatorial way.

Liberal activists will never actually let these be states' issues. It was pro-abortion rights activists who led the charge to nationalize the abortion issue through Roe, not pro-lifers. If Roe were overturned and pro-life activists retired at the federal level, it would only be a matter of time before the left obtained a majority on the Supreme Court and issued a new version of Roe. The belief that returning these issues to the states will be met by a shrug of acceptance from the abortion rights lobby is out of touch with reality and ignores the massive efforts that have been put into maintain Roe for forty years.

Immediate prospects for passage of either amendment are non-existent. However, social conservatives are right to have these as long-term goals, as this is the only way they can achieve ultimate success.