Louisiana Justice of the Peace denies interracial couple their marriage license 40 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 9 years ago

Interracial couple denied marriage license in La. - Yahoo! News

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer Mary Foster, Associated Press Writer – Thu Oct 15, 7:56 pm ET

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."

So, your thoughts on this? Obviously this doesn't stop them from getting married- they can go elsewhere, but is it still a sad reflection on these holdouts of bigotry.

For those of you who are not familiar with the US Court system, Justice of the Peaces typically handle things on a county by county basis. They are more commonly used in more rural areas and can deal with minor disputes, crimes, and can also carry out civil marriages.

In many states, Justice of the Peaces are elected and are not "judges" in the formal sense. Most do not usually have law experience and take an accreditation course. They are entrusted power by the state to carry out their duties.

Now again, while they can get it anywhere, there are some points to be made.

1. This Justice of the Peace had no right to refuse the license based on his own "opinions" 2. This JoP was elected by his community, which is a sad reflection on the region. 3. Interracial marriages have a tendency not to last long? How is that different from marriage in general in America?

Oh, and letting black people use your bathroom... what a nice excuse :rofl:




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#2 9 years ago

He gives off some contradictory messages here.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way,"

Obviously sounds racist.

"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."

Not so obviously racist, and very much grounded in truth. Especially in the South in many black communities mixed children are outcasts, just as they are in many southern white communities. I know my cousins, who are multiracial, had problems growing up.

I don't think it's as simple as he's a racist and bad person, shame on him. Race in the U.S. is a bit more complicated then that. That said, I don't think he should have been allowed to avoid marrying them like that. If he wanted he could have voiced his opinions, and then he should have married them and wished them the best of luck.




Commissar MercZ

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#3 9 years ago
Afterburner;5041252 Not so obviously racist, and very much grounded in truth. Especially in the South in many black communities mixed children are outcasts, just as they are in many southern white communities. I know my cousins, who are multiracial, had problems growing up.

I think there are plenty of other ways to have your children become outcasts in a community and have trouble growing up. There are other ways to have "bad" marriages, but I don't think his purpose is fully that. He's just making excuses I think, like with the bit about black people in his bathroom.

I don't think it's as simple as he's a racist and bad person, shame on him. Race in the U.S. is a bit more complicated then that. That said, I don't think he should have been allowed to avoid marrying them like that. If he wanted he could have voiced his opinions, and then he should have married them and wished them the best of luck.

He can do what he wants unfortunately in his house, but when he's acting on behalf of the state, well you can't do things like that. Last I checked miscegenation laws aren't around in the US.




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#4 9 years ago
Commissar MercZ;5041259I think there are plenty of other ways to have your children become outcasts in a community and have trouble growing up. I can't see him rejecting a marriage between a drunks, but some how this case stands out to him on his pedestal.

To be fair, how would he know they are drunks? I'd like to hear who the other couple she denied marriage licenses to were, actually.

He can do what he wants unfortunately in his house, but when he's acting on behalf of the state, well you can't do things like that. Last I checked miscegenation laws aren't around in the US.

Yes, I definitely agree. The law is quite clear that you can't discriminate the way he did, and I hope he is punished somehow. However, I'm just saying this doesn't necessarily mean he is some hardcore racist or something. I tend to take people at their words, and most people who say they aren't racist simply aren't racist, or if they are it's the sort of racism that is deeply embedded in them from their upbringing, but which they at least try to ignore. I think anyone who has grown up in a racist family knows what I mean. Someone who grows up immersed in racism might not want to be a racist, but feels uncomfortable with other races simply because of their upbringing.




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#5 9 years ago
Afterburner;5041266To be fair, how would he know they are drunks? I'd like to hear who the other couple she denied marriage licenses to were, actually.

If he's a local justice of the peace, he'll know the people coming in to his office. It seems to me he has personal reasons for denying this.

Yes, I definitely agree. The law is quite clear that you can't discriminate the way he did, and I hope he is punished somehow. However, I'm just saying this doesn't necessarily mean he is some hardcore racist or something. I tend to take people at their words, and most people who say they aren't racist simply aren't racist, or if they are it's the sort of racism that is deeply embedded in them from their upbringing, but which they at least try to ignore. I think anyone who has grown up in a racist family knows what I mean. Someone who grows up immersed in racism might not want to be a racist, but feels uncomfortable with other races simply because of their upbringing.

He could have explained it better than mentioning that he didn't believe in mixing races if he didn't want people to call him racist. I know people were calling Sotomayor racist over the same classification, but I think this guy is clearly on that end.

However I think the bigger problem here is that he's an elected official, and this probably means his opinions are not unique to him. I don't think it matters over this guy, it just shows that this sentiment is alive.




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#6 9 years ago
Commissar MercZ;5041269If he's a local justice of the peace, he'll know the people coming in to his office. It seems to me he's has personal reasons for denying this.

It's certainly possible, but like I said it's more likely latent rather then overt.

He could have explained it better than mentioning that he didn't believe in mixing races if he didn't want people to call him racist.

However I think the bigger problem here is that he's an elected official, and this probably means his opinions are not unique to him.

Yes, but people often put their foot in their mouth, or like I said he is latently, rather then overtly racist.

For your second point, I agree but it is not very surprising. This is Louisiana we are talking about, so I can just about guarantee that there are many racist, both latent and overt. (and there is a big difference between the two, at least latent racists try to avoid being racist.)




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#7 9 years ago

Hope he gets fired. But somewhat offtopic:

She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 "that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

Total bullshit. 3 words for anyone who says different. Same Sex couples.


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emonkies

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#8 9 years ago

This is not a same sex couple and IIRC the Civil Rights acts of 1964 and 1968 said a person cannot be discriminated against due to their race, religion, color, or nationality.

This judge is letting his personal bias interfere with his work and that is in violation of federal law.

I would not be surprised to see the Judge removed from office or disbarred by a Federal Judge and Prosecutor.




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#9 9 years ago
"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."

He said "piles". Like they came to his home, and he married them and then they took a piss in his bathroom, then he killed them and dumped them out back. :rofl:

Was it a white guy / black girl or black guy white girl?

And this was from Louisiana. Not at all surprising.




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#10 9 years ago

Anlushac11;5041581This judge is letting his personal bias interfere with his work and that is in violation of federal law.

I would not be surprised to see the Judge removed from office or disbarred by a Federal Judge and Prosecutor.[/QUOTE]

People need to learn that in democracy you aren't supposed to have leaders. You're supposed to have representatives.

[QUOTE=NiteStryker;5041768]He said "piles". Like they came to his home, and he married them and then they took a piss in his bathroom, then he killed them and dumped them out back. :rofl:

:lol: The only black people he's willing to be friends with are dead ones.