Betty on the News: Southern Justice of the Peace Refuses to Give Interracial Couple a Marriage License
Keith Bardwell thinks he made the correct decision in denying a couple the right to marry.
Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, has rejected an interracial couple’s request for a marriage license, according to the New York Daily News.
Bardwell alleges that interracial marriages do not last long, and that children from those relationships are almost always discriminated against.
“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” he told the Associated Press. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”
Beth Humphrey, 30, Terence McKay, 32, are now looking to file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Justice Department. “That was one thing that made this so unbelievable,” Humphrey said of the denial. “It’s not something you expect in this day and age.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has sent a letter to the state’s judiciary committee asking it to investigate the justice of the peace, who estimates he has denied marriage to four couples during his two and half year career.
“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” ACLU attorney Katie Schwartzmann disclosed. “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”
Bardwell, however, doesn’t feel that he has done anything wrong.
“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.” (The New York Daily News)