I've read a few articles lately dissenting from the current Supreme Court's decision to overturn the states' anti-sodomy laws and the chief argument always seems to be that the Constitution does not guarantee any right to gay sex. This is the very face of the "strict constructionist" ---and it represents the very worst of conservatism.
Strict constructionists ignore the many thousands of statutes and regulations established and enforced by the Federal government that have no discernable origin in the Constitution and, yet, there they are, uncontroversial and morally neutral. It must be the wider-ranging interpretive authority of the judiciary that strict constructionists balk at, but why? They can't actually doubt that laws must be interpreted, can they? If every contingency and circumstance of criminal and civil law could be anticipated with mathematical certainty, the executive could force out the judiciary with the end of its abacus.
So, why is a judiciary necessary? At the higher, more abstract end of the spectrum of the answer is the fact that laws and regulations sometimes outlive the social context in which they were first drafted; judgements must sometimes be rendered in cases and places where a politicized legislative body is unwilling to abolish a foolish and unpopular law. A black slave, for example, is no longer considered three-fifths of a human being for the purposes of calculating a state's number of representatives because, obviously, no black person (at least on this continent) is still a slave. Historical reality superseded the law.
Nor is the Constitution an absolutely perfect document in other ways. It did not spring from the forehead of Zeus or was drawn from a stone like Excalibur. It, too, has been monkeyed with over the decades (e.g., the Prohibition amendments) or been necessarily emended (e.g., the amendment providing for the succession to the Presidency), so it is not as though the Constitution is above interpretation or expansion.
Conservatives making a Constitutional argument against the repeal of the anti-sodomy laws are out of step with the historical reality of gay rights. If they wish to make this case a proving ground against other left-to-libertarian social attitudes and practices, they are making a huge error. Next will come the gay marriage laws and we shall see just how reciprocal the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution truly is. Conservatives and the Christian right and whoever else are going to have to face the reality of gay rights, whether they approve or not.
Strict constructionism is a loser of an argument, friends. Every time some otherwise reasonable conservative commentator or legislator or executive starts up with what the Constitution "allows," they make everyone else uneasy. For instance, if you want to see conservatism collapse at the ballot box, just pipe up about how Roe v. Wade is "bad Constitutional law." The conservative may, in the strictest sense, be correct, but will being correct be enough to pay the bills when his ass is out of office?