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View Full Version : Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License In Louisiana


EmeraldFields
16-10-09, 02:57
NEW ORLEANS A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "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 said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"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."

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

"I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.

Beth Humphrey, 30, and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, said she and McKay, a welder, just returned to Louisiana. She is white and he is black. She plans to enroll in the University of New Orleans to pursue a masters degree in minority politics.

"That was one thing that made this so unbelievable," she said. "It's not something you expect in this day and age."

Humphrey said she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell's wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples. Bardwell suggested the couple go to another justice of the peace in the parish who agreed to marry them.

"We are looking forward to having children," Humphrey said. "And all our friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Except for this, we're typical happy newlyweds."

"It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009," said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann. She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 "that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, 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.

According to the clerk of court's office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.
The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk's office.

"I've been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don't think I've mistreated anybody," Bardwell said. "I've made some mistakes, but you have too. I didn't tell this couple they couldn't get married. I just told them I wouldn't do it."

Source (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091015/ap_on_re_us/us_interracial_rebuff)

Wow, just wow.http://img119.imageshack.us/img119/5318/noshake.gif

takamotosan
16-10-09, 03:00
Who the hell is he to decide who should and shouldn't have children? It's unfathomable.

silver_wolf
16-10-09, 03:01
finally an excuse to use this:

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/cjvelg/14lt5.jpg

aktrekker
16-10-09, 03:06
I didn't tell this couple they couldn't get married. I just told them I wouldn't do it.


Why doesn't he have that right?
Nobody should be forced to do something they don't believe in.

rowanlim
16-10-09, 03:06
That is retarded. Who is he to impose his will on another person(s)? :pi:

silver_wolf
16-10-09, 03:08
I'm not actually surprised. There's a lot of naive idiots.

Sgt BOMBULOUS
16-10-09, 03:09
I can't believe he thinks he's going to deter them. Like he's the only justice of the peace in the entire state or something.

aktrekker
16-10-09, 03:11
Did anybody read the ****ing article? He wasn't trying to stop them, he knows he isn't able to stop them. He just didn't want to be the one to do it.

Oh, I forgot, they don't teach reading anymore :ton:

Sgt BOMBULOUS
16-10-09, 03:16
Did anybody read the ****ing article? He wasn't trying to stop them, he knows he isn't able to stop them. He just didn't want to be the one to do it.

Oh, I forgot, they don't teach reading anymore :ton:

Jesus Christ... Apparently you didn't inherit the same magnanimity as the other moderators. Did you catch the fact that I changed "stop" to "deter"?

aktrekker
16-10-09, 03:25
He wasn't trying to deter them either. In fact, if you read again, he didn't even talk to them. His wife did. And they were referred to another justice in the same area. Totally not trying to stop or deter or discourage them in any way.

And what ****ed me off is everyone seems to be reading the thread title and slamming the guy based on a headline.

takamotosan
16-10-09, 03:28
He wasn't trying to deter them either. In fact, if you read again, he didn't even talk to them. His wife did. And they were referred to another justice in the same area. Totally not trying to stop or deter or discourage them in any way.

And what ****ed me off is everyone seems to be reading the thread title and slamming the guy based on a headline.

Except for you missed the fact that HE HAS NO RIGHT TO DENY THEIR MARRIAGE REGISTRATION BASED ON RACE. Oh, it's also ILLEGAL. Is it not?

Sgt BOMBULOUS
16-10-09, 03:30
Still not my point. What does he ultimately think he's going to accomplish? They're just doing to get married somewhere else. It's like that silly scheme where people think they're hurting big oil companies by not buying gas on a particular day, in the end it accomplishes zilch, zero, nada. Standing up for what he believes in? Sure, anyone can see that. Is there any point to it? NO!!!

aktrekker
16-10-09, 03:36
Except for you missed the fact that HE HAS NO RIGHT TO DENY THEIR MARRIAGE REGISTRATION BASED ON RACE. Oh, it's also ILLEGAL. Is it not?

And in this particular case, he did not deny them. It was his wife. Maybe a technicality, but nonetheless, he did nothing illegal. This time.

Tombraiderx08
16-10-09, 03:44
He wasn't trying to deter them either. In fact, if you read again, he didn't even talk to them. His wife did. And they were referred to another justice in the same area. Totally not trying to stop or deter or discourage them in any way.

And what ****ed me off is everyone seems to be reading the thread title and slamming the guy based on a headline.

True that sister :ohn:, but in a way I understand what he's doing and im not sure how I feel about his decision just yet.

Lenochka
16-10-09, 03:46
Its rather sad to see people still thinking like that these days but at the same time It was just a personal choice of his not to be the one to go through with it. But at the same time this is part of his job. He shouldn't be in that position if he isn't able to deal with what is handed to him.

Ward Dragon
16-10-09, 03:57
Its rather sad to see people still thinking like that these days but at the same time It was just a personal choice of his not to be the one to go through with it. But at the same time this is part of his job. He shouldn't be in that position if he isn't able to deal with what is handed to him.

That's pretty much exactly how I feel about this. I get that he's worried about the future children being teased or not fitting in, so maybe his concern is coming from a compassionate place, but that's not his decision to make (and I think he's a bit misguided as well). He's a government employee and if he refuses to do his job then I assume he'll get fired. I don't think any charges or lawsuits should be filed against him, though (the ACLU is probably going to try to burn him at the stake).

Edit: Actually wait, when's the last time a government employee got fired for not doing the job properly? XD I meant to say he should get fired if he refuses to marry any couples that meet the legal requirements for getting married, although who knows what will actually happen?

Draco
16-10-09, 04:49
Obama is proof that being a halfling isn't so bad.

EmeraldFields
16-10-09, 04:52
Obama is proof that being a halfling isn't so bad.

So is Halle Berry and Mariah Carey.:p

knightgames
16-10-09, 05:04
finally an excuse to use this:

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/cjvelg/14lt5.jpg


May I steal that, silver_wolf? If you made it and don't want me to take it won't.


I'm at the point in my life where ignorance doesn't surprise me any more. Truly sad.

Cochrane
16-10-09, 08:19
Why doesn't he have that right?
Nobody should be forced to do something they don't believe in.
Actually, that's wrong. He should be forced to do that even if he doesn't believe in it, because he's a damn government official and getting paid for it. If that's unacceptable to him, he should get a different job.

Did anybody read the ****ing article? He wasn't trying to stop them, he knows he isn't able to stop them. He just didn't want to be the one to do it.
That's rather irrelevant, though. It's a question of principle. If it wasn't, he would perform these marriages for the very same reason you listed.

Punaxe
16-10-09, 09:04
Hmm this reminds me of a case in the Netherlands two years back, when a civil servant denied to conduct a gay marriage ceremony. A while later a law was passed that said that this was indeed possible: if the servant has objections of principle, he is allowed to refuse. Most cities didn't agree with this though, and made it mandatory to marry anyone who legally could. Two years ago there were only 100 such refusing servants so it's not a big practical issue, but I think it was a wrong decision of the coalition.
Similarly, religious schools are still allowed to fire gay teachers. Firing them because they're gay is not accepted, but firing them "on principle" is.

I think these exceptions should not be allowed; Justitia is blind, after all.

scion05
16-10-09, 09:41
Well, that's the south for ya.

iamlaracroft
16-10-09, 09:43
^ racism is not geographically isolated.
there is plenty of it in the north, east, and west.

and not all of the south is racist.

disneyprincess20
16-10-09, 09:56
Denying interracial marriage for the sake of the children will not deter interracial couples having children. If people really want children, they will just have them out of wedlock. He's making it worse for any potential children of the couple, not better. His logic is along the lines of "occasionally cars crash on the road, so I just won't let people have a driving licence".

I'm not saying what he's doing is right or wrong, that's for the American judicial system. All I'm saying is that his logic, "for the sake of the children", is faulty. Personally, I don't how the wife of the justice found out they were an interracial couple if she was talking to the woman on the phone.

iamlaracroft
16-10-09, 10:28
Denying interracial marriage for the sake of the children will not deter interracial couple having children. If people really want children, they will just have them out of wedlock. He's making it worse for any potential children of the couple, not better. His logic is along the lines of "occasionally cars crash on the road, so I just won't let people have a driving licence".

I'm not saying what he's doing is right or wrong, that's for the American judicial system. All I'm saying is that his logic, "for the sake of the children", is faulty. Personally, I don't how the wife of the justice found out they were an interracial couple if she was talking to the woman on the phone.

this is true. anybody who watches the train wrecks on Maury knows that a marriage license is not necessary to have tons of kids by different fathers/mothers.