If you care that consenting adults can get married, regardless of their genders or colors or sexual proclivities, you're not really a conservative. You use the term to describe yourself because you think some people will favor it, like when people on dating sites call themselves "adventurous." Real adventurers meet new lovers at zip-lining conventions, or even prayer marathons, not online in chat rooms. And real conservatives don't care what consenting adults do with their money or lungs or genitals if it does not intrude on the liberty of others.
But worse than the "conservatives" who think your freedom ends when you want to do something they find icky are the ones who would truly pervert the Constitution to fight what they see as perversion.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up cases in which federal judges have ordered states to allow same-sex marriage, so here come the constitutional amendments against gay marriage.
The great glory of the Constitution is that it is almost entirely written as a list of things the government can't do to the people, and a list of things the people can do no matter what. There's a reason the Constitution has at its heart the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of You'd Better Act Right or Else.
It tells us the government can't keep us from praying how we want, or saying what we want, or getting together to chant annoying slogans like, "Hey hey, ho ho, rich people having all the cool stuff and me stuck with a flip phone and a 1982 Yugo, that's got to go."
It says the government can't take our guns or our vote or our right to print stuff the government hates. We can't be searched without good reason, or be denied an attorney and, gosh, plenty of other stuff, too.
At almost no point does the Constitution ban a behavior by citizens. The exception to this was the 18th Amendment, prohibiting alcohol. It lasted 13 years before being revoked, ending a long national nightmare that forced folks to choose between breaking laws and the heartbreak of sobriety.
When the Supreme Court declined to hear the same-sex marriage cases, it basically said, "We're not taking this issue on until it's such a slam-dunk that even televangelists and Catholic cardinals are like, 'Dude, leave the gays alone.' "
But as soon as news of the court's decision broke, talk of constitutional amendments cropped up, as usual. There have been at least 10 attempts to pass the Federal Marriage Act, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. None has ever come close to getting the necessary two-thirds majority in either chamber of Congress.
Now, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wants a constitutional amendment saying no federal law or court can supersede any state law on marriage, which would allow states to keep bans on same-sex marriage. It also would allow states to ban marriages between blacks and whites and between people who both have really, really frizzy hair (think of the children, for Pete's sake).
Cruz's amendment seems like the constitutionally pure way to go, and he's selling it as a states' rights issue, which marriage traditionally is. But because he supported the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal overreach that restricted same-sex marriage, and keeps chastising the feds for not prosecuting pot users in states where pot is legal, it's pretty obvious that he's not a states' rights advocate. Any "conservatives" who jump on his bandwagon bellowing "states' rights" will be suspect, too, about same-sex marriage and a whole lot more.
The way I was taught, folks who think the government can stop you from doing what you want, even when it doesn't impact others directly, are called liberals. And faux conservatives are the worst kind of liberals. They won't even balance their demands for social control with offers of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board.