Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License

By Jason Lewis

So interracial marriages do not last very long?

That's what Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish in the southeastern part of Louisiana claims. He used that logic to explain why he refused to marry a black man and a white woman.

Bardwell also said that he is concerned about the children that they may have. He believes that an interracial child would not be accepted by either race.

Bardwell claims that he is not a racist.

"I'm not a racist," Bardwell said. "I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house."

Bardwell went on to say that he has "piles of Black friends," he has married Black couples in his house, and he even said that he lets them use his bathroom!

Maybe we should all apologize to Bardwell for jumping to such outlandish conclusions.

Somebody needs to let Bardwell know that a good amount of same race marriages do not last long. The national divorce rate is around 50%, and in some states it is even higher than that.

As for interracial children not being accepted by either race, that would not seem to be a huge problem with Black people. There are many different shades of Black people, and lighter skinned Blacks seem to be just as accepted as darker skinned Blacks.

Let us not forget that the President of the United States of American, Barack Obama, is interracial. He turned out pretty good.

In the big picture is Bardwell really a problem? Not really, because the couple was able to go to another justice of peace to obtain their marriage license. But that does not mean that Bardwell should get off the hook here. If he were allowed to get away with this what would stop other people from other industries from doing this very same thing?

What if a local Burger King said that they would not serve Black people because those people could simply go to the Burger King down the street?

Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, sees this as legal problem.

"A justice of the peace is legally obligated to serve the public, all of the public," Quigley said. "Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades. No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow."

This is not the first time that Bardwell has denied an interracial couple. He said that it is the fourth time over his 34-year career as a justice of peace that he has done this. This may be the last time, as Louisiana's governor and a U.S. senator have called for him to be ousted as the justice of peace, which the Republican has run without opposition since he took the position.

If that happens, Bardwell can probably get sympathy from his piles of Black friends that he has let use his bathroom.

Category: Op-Ed


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