Justice of the Peace in La. Refuses Marriage License to Interracial Couple

October 15, 2009

(ChattahBox)—-An interracial couple in Hammond, Louisiana recently returned to their native state to say their wedding vows and make a home together. They ran into a hurdle however, when a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish refused to issue them a marriage license, because they were an interracial couple, even though he knew it was illegal to do so.

His reason? Keith Bardwell, the Justice of the Peace said he worries about the children of mixed marriages and that he doesn’t “…believe in mixing the races.”

The interracial couple, Beth Humphrey, 30, and 32-year-old Terence McKay contacted Bardwell on October 6 to have him sign their marriage license. Beth Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, spoke to Bardwell’s wife and was told that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples.

Bardwell says he asks everyone who calls about a marriage license if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them.

And of course, Bardwell claims he is not a racist, because he has black friends and get this: he even allows them to use his bathroom.

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way. I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else,” Bardwell told the Associated Press.

The small town Justice of the Peace, also believes he is saving children of a mixed race marriage from experiencing discrimination.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

Bardwell says that if he broke his self-imposed rule to violate state and federal law, to refuse to marry mixed-race couples, by marrying Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay, then he would have to marry every single interracial couple who knocked on his door. And he couldn’t have that.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” said Bardwell.

Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay plan to file a discrimination complaint.

American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann, is astonished that in 2009, interracial couples are still being denied the right to marry in Louisiana. “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry,” said Schwartzmann.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending “the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice.”

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzmann said.

Source


Comments

41 Responses to “Justice of the Peace in La. Refuses Marriage License to Interracial Couple”

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  3. mrsroe on October 16th, 2009 9:17 am

    How pathetic is this. Is the Klan worried that the children or grandchildren of this couple would also grow up to become a U.S. President? Well, we can’t have that, can we?

    ” ” His reason? Keith Bardwell, the Justice of the Peace said he worries about the children of mixed marriages and that he doesn’t “…believe in mixing the races.” ”

    Hellooo!! This is the definition of an Aryan. Hitler would be proud.

    When these types of people go on about the “piles” of black friends they have, those black friends should dissolve the friendship and RUN. There might be a noose in the closet.

    To Keith Bardwell, I hope for your sake that when Jesus returns he doesn’t appear to be mixed race.

    thx
    Native New Orleanean, married to a European, living in Europe

  4. Mack Swift on October 16th, 2009 9:30 am

    I find it interesting that people are throwing a fit, but the same voters who are complaining also voted for and added an amendment to their state Constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions.

    It also prohibits state officials and courts from recognizing any out-of-state same-sex marriages or civil unions.

    Nothing like cherry picking our racism and discrimination.

  5. ticked on October 16th, 2009 9:53 am

    Personally i am glad he refused to marry them. Not that i care either way but, it is good for someone to finally stand up for what they believe in. You think he is racist?? what about the NAACP?? An organization designed only to help black people!!! United Negro College fund?? Why not all people instead?? If i started a United White college fund the NAACP would label me a racist.. I am sick of this one sided crap!! you think blacks are racist?? We forget the black pathers?? the black version of the klan?

  6. David on October 16th, 2009 10:12 am

    Ticked, you imbecile, the only reason why groups like the NAACP and the Black Panthers were formed was because of the rampant racism that existed at the time. If they weren’t created it would have been open season on black people. Are you too DUMB to realize this?

    The formation of these groups was reactionary, the creation of “The United White college fund” would be entirely unnecessary.

    Educate yourself

  7. olivia on October 16th, 2009 10:19 am

    Tickled – There is nothing so shocking as the idiots who use ‘other people are racist’ as some kind of defense. Saying that starting a white fund would be considered racist is ridiculous, though it is true. So is bringing up the black panthers. So is stating that this justice of the peace was ‘standing up for what he believed in’. The Klan members who lynched young black men were standing up for their beliefs as well. Do you respect them and their fortitude in the face of a nation that stands against them?

    This was a disgusting move on the past of that Justice. What is unfortunate in the extreme is that we will be able to take care of idiots like this, stripping him from his position and ending his career. But casual, uneducated, and ignorant morons such as yourself will still be in the background, making like a little harder for the rest of the world.

    Stop speaking as though you believe in equality for the human race. Your are so transparent that just thinking off looking your way hurts my eyes.

  8. emily on October 16th, 2009 10:28 am

    Ticked — So because of your lack of education, you think that two people should be denied rights to marriage? If you feel so strongly as it seems you do, why don’t you do something productive with it rather than whine about it and discriminate against two peoples RIGHTS.

    With that said, I have to agree with Mark Swift. I’m from NY so I don’t know much about the laws down there in LA but if what he is saying is true, then I definitely don’t understand the way peoples mind works. Hopefully, in twenty years, we will look back on discriminating against ANYONE based on their sex, sexual orientation, race, etc. and think of how ridiculous and ignorant it was.

  9. ticked on October 16th, 2009 10:41 am

    WOW. Blind stupidity!
    Let me see if i can make this simple enough for even your limited minds.
    Racism is a tool. Now while tragic as it is for any innocent to be harmed. Thats black or white or any color innocent. The fact is Racism is a tool. It is used every time someone doesnt get their way. I feel blacks are a bit “gun shy” and pulling the race card way more often than needed. It takes tragedy to make things change! People have to be hurt “and usually big” in order for anyone to notice. Once noticed then the change begins. The problem is the balance. The black panthers realized this. Check your history. They started pro-black and ended anti-oppression for all. Their downfall of course was the brutality they used to send the message.
    Why is united white college fun racist?? You dont think there are poor white people out there that need help with school? Why cant we make it united college fund instead of negro or white?? My point is there are poor people every where that need help!
    Ok so the Justice of the peace refused to marry them. So what.. move on to the next guy that will. Whats wrong with the JOP that gave them the license? Cant he marry them? If someone refuses to sell you something that you can get any where then why bother? Just move on to the next place. Just dont give the guy any business and that hurts him more than anything else.

  10. ticked on October 16th, 2009 10:58 am

    Emily,
    I never said they cant get married nor did i say they shouldn’t. I only defended the JOP in his choice to refuse services. The more he refuses the more he loses. Eventually he will not have anyone to marry because the word is out and only a hand full of people will even work with him. You all assumed i supported anti-mixed racial couples.
    As for your comment on Mack Swift.. Agreed but, i think it will unfortunately take longer than 20 years.
    As for my education. I have a masters in physics and an associates level on my computer science degree. Two different schools.
    I know how important it is to get an education. I see white and black and even Hispanic people living in houses that should be condemned when all they needed was an education to get them a good job and healthy living conditions!

  11. Superion on October 16th, 2009 11:12 am

    To ticked: You brought up “poor white people [who] need help with school.” The problem is that for years, means have been made available to non-minorities for various issues such as this, when they were denied to minorities. The institutions you refer to like the NAACP and the UNCF were developed to “right the balance.” And judging from incidents like Jena, the Philadelphia pool incident, and this, it’s fair to say that we still have some work to do on that measure.

    You also said that this couple should “just move on” to the next Justice of the Peace. But to ignore this man who is abusing his authority would allow that seed of evil to persist, and spread: others who would do similar things would be emboldened by it and act similarly. Evil is insidious and persistent, and because of that it is not something to be tolerated…it must be eradicated. This couple is doing the right thing to fight him, and as an authority figure he should be severely sanctioned as a lesson to other people in authority – we hold them to a higher standard because they ARE in authority over us!

  12. Tim on October 16th, 2009 11:21 am

    This is so simple, I am surprised that some can not wrap their head around it. This man was elected to be a representative of the people of that Parrish. Two consenting adults from within that Parrish wished to be legally married. The representative refused to fulfill his elected duties because of a PERSONAL objection. The justice was 100% in the wrong and should be removed from his position.

    And to Ticked. There are numerous white-only organizations and private scholarships available to whites only. The difference between the NAACP and the KKK is that the NAACP does not advocate a “black only” society.

  13. David murphy on October 16th, 2009 11:32 am

    Yeah- one of those mixed raced kids might grow up and be president of The United States.

    The NOM crowd and “family values” hypocrites applaud this.

  14. Mack Swift on October 16th, 2009 11:56 am

    Karma is a very strange creature. Because what goes around, can, will, and does come around in strange and unexpected ways, shapes, and forms.
    When this story popped up, that was the first thing that popped into my mind, “What are Louisiana’s laws concerning gay marriage and civil unions?”

    This is what happens. Because the voters and legislature of Louisiana decided to vote on and add a discriminating amendment to their state Constitution; people’s mindset has become such that if we can legally discriminate against this group doing this; why not discriminate against this group doing that too? One thing leads back to another.

    It’s prejudice, and it’s ignorance, on a level that is staggering at this point in time.

  15. chuck on October 16th, 2009 12:13 pm

    As a gay man I can’t say that I’m very sympathetic! African Americans voted OVERWHELMINGLY to oppose gay marriage in the state of California during the recent Proposition 8 referendum. They also voted OVERWHELMINGLY to modify the Louisiana constitution to deny marriages between consenting, same-sex, red-blooded, fully American adults. They should know better than anyone that this is wrong. An entire lesson in history was lost on them. Gays worked and marched in large numbers during the civil rights years of the early 60’s to lend a hand up to their African American friends and neighbors. They knew that their own equal participation in this country was dependent on civil rights for African Americans. They are the first to yell discrimination and the first to deny others. Yes, this justice of the peace is an idiot, but my sympathy stops there. Get over it…..

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  17. rita on October 16th, 2009 12:34 pm

    To Ticked – We shouldn’t have to “shop around” to find an unbiased government representative to marry us. If he wants to be a discriminatory bigot, then he should join the church and practice his ignorance where it is most welcome. While he is on the government dole, he should only be able to deny once and then society as a whole can deny him indefinitely. There is a reason that we have black beauty pageants, black panthers, NAACP etc., and that is because white American Christians didn’t want to play with black people for a long long time. So, they learned to create their own institutions. They were created out of necessity. We didn’t need a white chapter of the NAACP, because 200 years of the status quo, backed by the Christian church was the only chapter we needed. The church has yet to give up on discrimination and bigotry as witnessed by the Mormon church that successfully raised enough money from Christians in California and outside states to hold a referendum to put civil rights for the gay population to a popular vote. A POPULAR VOTE – ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS!!!! Can you believe it?

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