You're so right. Conservatism used to mean decency, honor, standing for tried and proven principle. Standing on principle is good, not listening or poo-pooing dissention "just because" is wrong.
For instance... I strongly oppose abortion as a means of birth control or to cover a misstep, but to force a woman (or young girl) to carry a pregnacy to term in cases of violent rape, for instance, may not be the best for that woman.
I believe homosexualty is wrong, an aberrant lifestyle... but the bottom line is: so are all forms of promiscuity or licentiousness. Must the federal government outlaw sex out wedlock as a crime? It would not work.. but, we as a people can protect traditional marriage as the crux of humanity and the family?