Louisiana Justice Refusing to Marry Interracial Couple Resigns

November 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A Louisiana justice of the peace, who refused to marry an interracial couple, even though he knew it was illegal to do so, finally resigned on Tuesday from his Tangipahoa Parish position. Keith “I’m not a racist,” Bardwell, did not back down from his refusal over the years, to marry interracial couples, declaring his “conscience” prohibited him from being a party to “mixing the races.”

After a national uproar ensued when his illegal and racist practices came to light, Bardell appeared in person at the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office to resign, after calls for him to step down from Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

Last month Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond, Louisiana, phoned Bardell’s office to arrange for a marriage ceremony. Bardwell’s wife asked Beth Humphrey if she was part of a “mixed couple,” and when Humphrey responded that she was, Mrs. Bardwell told her “We don’t do interracial weddings.”

The couple eventually got married elsewhere by a different justice of the peace.

Keith Bardell later said that he had concerns for children of mixed marriages. “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 also admitted that he doesn’t believe in interracial marriages, but claimed he isn’t a racist, because he has black friends who have used 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,” said Bardwell.

After his refusal to marry the couple, Humphrey and McKay filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bardwell and his wife, on the grounds that they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

After his resignation on Tuesday, Bardwell remained unrepentant saying, “I would probably do the same thing again. I found out I can’t be a justice of the peace and have a conscience,” said Bardwell.



4 Responses to “Louisiana Justice Refusing to Marry Interracial Couple Resigns”

  1. mancuso on November 4th, 2009 12:42 pm

    Oh Brother had a pretty interesting segment a week or so ago that was all about this story.


  2. Old Man Dotes on November 4th, 2009 12:46 pm

    Mr. Bardwell, what you found out is that you can’t be a JP and a racist bigot. Mixed-race children have no problem except when exposed to racist bigots – like you.

  3. R Smith on November 4th, 2009 3:05 pm

    I wonder if we will ever stop making laws against people loving each other. I think that this is one of the most insane things that I have ever heard of. What problem could anyone have with someone else wanting to love someone.



  4. Sharon on November 9th, 2009 5:04 pm

    I found Justice Bardwell’s outlook embarrassing. Obviously he believes that his way of thinking is perfectly normal. For that matter the whole community he live in must think the same way or he’d have been pulled-up years ago! I call this form of racism, subtle, ‘subliminal’ racism. My parents were a good example of it. They told us one thing (all races are equal) and clearly showed us another (not one friend or neighbor of another race to be seen).

    Sad to say their example was thoroughly reinforced by every school I was enrolled in as well as every church I attended. And I was a card-carrying member of most of the mainstream churches—Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian (Never a person of another race at a bingo game, teen dance, pot luck dinner or picnic). For that matter the only religion I’ve ever looked into that insisted racism was totally unacceptable to God was Jehovah’s Witnesses. Race would never be a factor among Witnesses in choosing a marriage partner or having children.

    So then, if you want to check yourself for any traces of subtle, subliminal racism just picture yourself cuddling children of mixed race that have been born into your family. Do you see yourself happy and thankful to have them? If you don’t see yourself as happy and thankful, that’s a serious problem—the same problem Justice Bardwell has.

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