Bermuda just became the first nation on Earth to reverse its legalization of same-sex marriage. Its Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal last May, but Bermuda is very socially conservative, and the people were not happy with having this radical social change forced on them by judges. It led to mass protests outside Parliament, and both houses just voted overwhelmingly to reverse that decision and the Governor signed it.
Under the new law, same-sex marriages performed during the period when it was legal will stand, and gay couples will be able to enter into domestic partnerships with the same legal benefits as marriage, but the term “marriage” will apply only to male-female relationships.
Naturally, this is being widely condemned as a big step backward for progress. But it’s interesting the way the news story puts it: that Bermuda just became the first country “to repeal a law allowing gay couples to marry.”
I would argue that it’s a big step backward for progress that so many people now swallow the notion that court rulings are “laws.” I’m not an expert in Bermuda’s government, but we see the same mindset here with Supreme Court rulings, including same-sex marriage, being called “the law of the land.” The Supreme Court has no power to make laws. All it can do is rule on whether laws made by Congress are constitutional or not. The Founders deliberately reserved the power to make laws to Congress because it is made up of the elected Representatives of the people, not unelected, unaccountable judges.
Whether you think same-sex marriage is good or bad, it was imposed on America the same way it was forced on unwilling Bermudans, which was a recipe for resentment and division. The way to change laws is first to win hearts and minds until you can convince Congress to pass them, not to petition sympathetic judges to force them down the public’s throat. If you think that settles the issue once and for all, then I invite you to take a look at how well the entire country has embraced legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade, and that was over 40 years ago.