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HAMMOND, La. — 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.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.

"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house," Bardwell said. "My main concern is for the children."

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.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

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

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

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

Humphrey told the newspaper 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.

"It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009," said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman. "The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office, Schwartzman said.

"He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it," Schwartzman 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.
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Originally posted by EbonyRose:
I would really like to know what White people (from all walks of life) think about this story!

Interestingly enough ... most of the mainstream news agencies that I'm reading that are reporting on this aren't offering a "comments" section. 19

Black folks are like, "Yeah ... and"?? But what are "other folks" reaction to it, I wonder? Confused

Doesn't that judge know that we's free now? dance
We had outside national groups and even one State Senator encouraging County Clerks to defy the recient unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality.

I don't think that anybody in any of the 99 counties of Iowa took them up on it, though...


Attorney General: County officials must support ‘rule of law’

'The rule of law means we all follow the law as interpreted by our courts -- not by ourselves'

By Jason Hancock 4/22/09 10:57 AM

County recorders do not have the authority to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

Miller was responding to a petition drive being pushed by Republican state Sen. Merlin Bartz and the Iowa Family Policy Center that is trying to convince county recorders to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses in defiance of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

“We expect duly-elected county recorders to comply with the Iowa Constitution as interpreted unanimously by the Iowa Supreme Court, the highest court in Iowa,” Miller said in a statement to the Iowa Independent. “Our country lives by and thrives by the rule of law, and the rule of law means we all follow the law as interpreted by our courts — not by ourselves. We don’t each get to decide what the law is; that would lead to chaos. We must live by and follow what the courts decide.”

Bartz is asking citizens to deliver signed petitions to Iowa’s 99 county recorders on Monday, the day the Supreme Court’s verdict goes into effect and same-sex couples can legally obtain marriage licenses. Any county recorder that doesn’t abide by the Court’s ruling would be in violation of the law and face removal from office.

“Recorders do not have discretion or power to ignore the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling,” Miller said, adding: “If necessary, we will explore legal actions to enforce and implement the Court’s ruling, working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and county attorneys.”

For several days his office has advised county recorders around the state that they are required to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, Miller said, which means they must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as they have in the past to opposite-sex couples.

Last week, Bartz attempted to insert language into a bill that would have allowed county recorders to refuse to issue a marriage license as a “matter of conscience” without fear of prosecution. The language was ruled out of order. Later, a clerk to Republican state Rep. Kent Sorenson was found to be contacting county recorders asking them why they were willing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling, since “it’s not a law, it’s an opinion.”

But the Court’s ruling concluded that language “limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the [state] statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.”

County recorders do not have the authority to ignore the Court’s ruling, Miller said.
lol The judge is actually about 300 years too late. He's worried about the children of this couple, ha! In Louisiana they have so many mixed people that they at one point qualified for their own racial designation there! I think that they call them Creole. SMH
Example of White ignorance strikes again! Dang RicardoMath, your people never cease to amaze me with the depth of their absolute ignorance bordering on damn stupidity. I'm sure this judge sees light skinned creole people on a daily basis yet he's worried about this couple's children? LMFAO
Originally posted by Yemaya:

Dang RicardoMath, your people never cease to amaze me with the depth of their absolute ignorance bordering on damn stupidity. I'm sure this judge sees light skinned creole people on a daily basis yet he's worried about this couple's children? LMFAO

You are soooo right about that. Louisiana is so full of mixed people that been intermixing for generations until even the white people sound black in Louisiana! And during slavery it was one of the few places where a white man could set up a black woman in a household across town and have a black family on one side of town and a white family on the other side...

This judge probably got a black grandmama laugh
There is good news here.

The judge DID NOT break any law.

So 'times have changed'.

I had an acquaintance...who called me a friend...when it was convenient for him.

He was the general manager of a plant just up the street from my office.

One day he called me to have lunch...after years and years of no contact.

Turns out....his daughter while living in Florida...that's right IN FLORIDA!!!...

She was getting married a 'black' man.

His concern??

'Now Jim, you know me,... and my wife. We are not bigots.'

Ellie and I are just concern about the children. know how their children going to be treated.'

I said...paraphrasing...

My wife and I have raised three.

WHAT AN ASSHHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jim Chester
Video: : Louisiana Justice Of The Peace Explains Refusal To Perform Interracial Marriage.

The Louisiana Justice of the Peace who refused to perform an interracial marriage was interviewed on CBS News Monday morning and tried to explain his actions.

Bartlett explained that he had seen "countless" interracial couples where the children were rejected by family members, and he didn't want to see that happen again.

He defended himself by pointing out that he did not prevent the couple from getting married; he merely would not do it himself. Asked if he would refuse to perform a marriage for any other reason, he said no, but then corrected himself.

"One of them is intoxicated or seems to be or on drugs or whatever, yeah, I can recuse myself and make them come back when they're in a sober state," he added.

At the end of the segment, Bartlett asked to say one more thing.

"I'm sorry that I offended the couple, but I did help them and tell them who to go to," he said. "And they went and got married, and they should be happily married and I don't see what the problem is now."

Open Link for Video:
La. justice resigns after interracial wed flap.

BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana justice of the peace who refuses to marry interracial couples resigned Tuesday, after weeks of calls for his ouster from civil rights groups and several public officials, including the governor.

Keith Bardwell quit with a one-sentence statement to Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne: "I do hereby resign the office of Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, effective November 3, 2009."

Gov. Bobby Jindal called Bardwell's resignation "long overdue."

Beth Humphrey, who is white, has said she and her now-husband, Terence McKay, who is black, received their marriage license from the parish clerk of court, where they also got a list of people qualified to perform the ceremony. When she called Bardwell's office on Oct. 6 to ask, Humphrey said Bardwell's wife told her that the justice wouldn't sign their marriage license because they were a "mixed couple."

When questioned, Bardwell, who is white, acknowledged he routinely avoids marrying interracial couples because he believes children born to them end up suffering. In interviews, he said he refers the couples to other justices of the peace, who then perform the ceremony, which happened inthis case.

"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said in an October interview with The Associated Press. "I think those children suffer, and I won't help put them through it."

Bardwell didn't return repeated calls Tuesday to comment about his resignation, which followed calls for his removal from officials including Jindal and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

"We're saddened that it took national attention to this issue, which was decided back in 1967 by the Supreme Court, and also that it took public admonishment from other elected leaders in order for him to resign," said Laura Catlett, a lawyer for Humphrey and McKay.

Jindal said Bardwell made the right decision.

"What he did was clearly wrong and this resignation was long overdue," the governor said in a statement.

Landrieu said Bardwell's refusal to marry the couple reflected terribly on the state.

"By resigning ... and ending his embarrassing tenure in office, Justice Bardwell has finally consented to the will of the vast majority of Louisiana citizens and nearly every governmental official in Louisiana ... We are better off without him in public service," she said.

Humphrey and McKay have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Bardwell. Catlett said the resignation won't stop the lawsuit, which also names Bardwell's wife as a defendant.

"This does not in any way change the fact that he, with his wife's help, discriminated against an interracial couple while he was a public official," Catlett said.

Bardwell was elected in 1975 as justice of the peace in Ponchatoula, La., a town 55 miles north of New Orleans. His term was set to run through 2014, and he had said that even before the flap, he hadn't intended to run for re-election.
The good justice speaks...

Louisiana justice who refused interracial marriage resigns

(CNN) -- A Louisiana justice of the peace who drew criticism for refusing to marry an interracial couple has resigned, the secretary of state's office said Tuesday.

Keith Bardwell resigned in person at the Louisiana secretary of state's office, said spokesman Jacques Berry. The state Supreme Court will appoint an interim justice of the peace to fill Bardwell's position, Berry said, and a special election will be held next year to fill the position permanently.

Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused to perform a marriage ceremony for Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond, Louisiana, and sign their marriage license. The two were married by another justice of the peace.

The couple filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bardwell and his wife, Beth Bardwell, on October 20, claiming the two violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Bardwell, speaking to CNN affiliate WBRZ, said he was advised "that I needed to step down because they was going to take me to court, and I was going to lose."

"I would probably do the same thing again,"
he said. "I found out I can't be a justice of the peace and have a conscience."

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-Louisiana, who had called for Bardwell's dismissal, said Tuesday night that "Bardwell has finally consented to the will of the vast majority of Louisiana citizens and nearly every governmental official in Louisiana. Bardwell's refusal to issue marriage licenses to interracial couples was out of step with our Louisiana values and reflected terribly on our state. We are better off without him in public service."

Initial reports were that Bardwell refused to issue a marriage license to the couple, but in the lawsuit Humphrey and McKay say they obtained the license from the parish court clerk's office and contacted Bardwell to see if he would perform the ceremony and sign the license to legally validate the marriage.

Humphrey wound up speaking by telephone with Beth Bardwell, the lawsuit said, and Beth Bardwell asked Humphrey if they were a "mixed couple." When told they were an interracial couple, Beth Bardwell said, according to the lawsuit, "We don't do interracial weddings," and told her the two would have to go outside the parish to marry.

Bardwell did not return repeated phone calls from CNN in October, but told CNN affiliate WAFB that he had no regrets about the decision. "It's kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven't done wrong," he said.

In addition, he told the Hammond Daily Star in an October story that he did not marry the couple because he was concerned for the children that might be born of the relationship and that, in his experience, most interracial marriages don't last.

"I'm not a racist," he said. "I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children."

Humphrey said in October that she wanted Bardwell to resign. "He doesn't believe he's being racist, but it is racist," she said.

According to the lawsuit, Bardwell estimated he refused to marry at least four other interracial couples in the past 2½ years.

"Defendant Beth Bardwell ... aided, abetted and conspired with defendant Keith Bardwell to deprive plaintiffs of their constitutionally protected civil rights," according to the suit.

No response to the suit has been filed, and it was unclear whether the Bardwells had retained an attorney. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, claiming that Humphrey and McKay suffered emotional distress as a result of the incident.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he believed Bardwell should lose his license, and the National Urban League called for an investigation into the incident by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, saying in a statement that Bardwell's actions were "a huge step backward in social justice."

According to the Census Bureau, Tangipahoa Parish is about 70 percent white and 30 percent black.

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out any racially-based limitations on marriage in the landmark 1967 ruling in the case Loving v. Virginia. In the unanimous decision, the court said that under the Constitution, "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

CNN's Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report.

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