At least since Edmund Burke, whom many consider the forerunner of modern conservatism, conservatives believes we must consider the circumstances of any given situation before developing a law, should the circumstances require one, to remedy it. Burkean conservatives avoid one-size=fits=all solutions and recognize that some laws should change as times change, while others stay the same. Some strictures remain as valid today as they were in the ancient world, others outdated, belonging quite literally to another era.
“Circumstances,” Burke wrote, “give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect.”
A conservative doesn’t change for change’s sake, but he doesn’t impede a change when circumstances require one. North Carolina’s Amendment One which is today before the voters of the Tarheel State would prevent the state’s General Assembly, its elected legislature, from crafting laws to reflect the changing circumstances of gays and lesbians in that state.
Its defeat would not lead directly to state recognition of same-sex marriage in North Carolina nor even to state recognition of same-sex civil unions, but merely leave both options — and others as well — open to future legislatures. And bear in mind that every member of those legislatures will be subject to popular election. All a vote against Amendment One does is keep the issue of same-sex unions open to the elected representatives of North Carolina’s citizens. Its defeat will not require churches to perform gay weddings.
I urge North Carolina conservatives to hold true to long-standing conservative principles and to vote today against Amendment One.