Burning Bush

Brian O'Leary Bennett was Republican Congressman Robert K. Dornan's chief of staff from 1977 to 1989 and, more recently, a vice president for public affairs at Southern California Edison. Today he is a conservative Republican activist and a consultant on energy and government issues. He met candidate George W. Bush on April 13, 2000, he writes, as part of "the so-called Austin 12—the first group of gay and lesbians ever invited to meet with a presumptive Republican nominee for president." The following is an excerpt from a March 14 op-ed he wrote for The Orange County Register.

When the president endorsed this constitutional amendment against gay marriage, conservatives should have asked, "What's conservative about it?" He jealously guarded state prerogatives as governor but now wants to nationalize marriage and family law to create a "no-homo-need-apply" exception to the Constitution. What happened to the president's reverence for 50 individual state laboratories? When the president chastises so-called "activist judges" in Massachusetts and California, someone should remind him that activist judges put him in the White House. . . . When the president, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and other leading Republicans claim the vote of the people is being usurped, they need a civics lesson in uniquely American doctrines that have guarded our freedoms from overzealous electorates and big-brother governments. . . . It is precisely because of the courts—a full and equal partner in our republic—that nearly every major civil-rights advance has come from "activist justices." . . . For all these reasons, the president should knock off scapegoating "activist judges" for political advantage, especially when they are dubbed "activist" only when they make rulings with which he disagrees.


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