An interracial couple was denied a marriage license in Louisiana. The marriage license was refused by a justice of the peace who claimed that he was doing it for any possible children that the couple might have. It really seems like a headline from the 1960s, and it’s shocking that something like this could still happen in the United States in 2009. It’s a strong statement that our country still has a long way to go until racial equality is attained, but the man at the center of this story is claiming that he certainly is not a racist. This man simply frowns upon people from separate races getting married. Others will certainly disagree with his statement of not being racist.
Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay just wanted to get married, and they went to a justice of the peace in their hometown of Hammon, Louisiana in order to gain a marriage license. The couple sought to contact Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, and were told by his wife that he would not sign a marriage license for an interracial couple. The news had to be a huge setback for this couple, and equally disheartening that something like this could still keep them from becoming legally married. According to Bardwell, he won’t support interracial marriages because he doesn’t feel that black or white society will accept the children of the couple once they are born.
Now this isn’t just a local issue, because Keith Bardwell works for the state of Louisiana as a justice of the peace. The Louisiana Supreme Court oversees the justices of the peace in the state, and has the ability to remove him from his office if they deem this to be something outside the bounds of his duties. It’s astonishing that Bardwell thinks that he is doing the right thing by refusing to issue the marriage license in the state, and that he feels he is acting in the best interest of the couple. Well the couple that is being discriminated against here certainly doesn’t agree with his opinion on the matter.
This case isn’t going to just end with a news story about what is taking place in Louisiana, and this could really blow up in the face of this justice of the peace if he doesn’t get his act together. He is certainly not following the creed that everyone should be treated equally, but is rather deciding what is best for the people who are trying to get married within the state. Hopefully something is done on a state level to let this couple know that they are well within their rights to get married, and Bardwell needs to be issuing a public apology in this case, or just lose his job if he is refusing to follow the law.
Source: AP Wire News