Friday, October 16, 2009

Louisiana is NOT for Lovers

Every time I see a "Virginia is for Lovers" bumper sticker, I think of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled an bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional. That decision was madeover 40 years ago.
Apparently, one Justice of the Peace in Louisiana didn't get the memo:

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. . . . 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."
One can easily infer his opinion of transracial adoption, don't you think?!

Of course, the JP's actions are completely unconstitutional, and the ACLU is requesting the Louisiana Judiciary Commission to remove him.


Lisa said...

My daughter and I saw this on the news together tonight. Food for an interesting discussion... to say the least! (Another opportunity to discuss the narrowness of the human mind... ignorance.)

But here's a question: the news journalist (ABC News!) covering the story raised what seemed to be a very odd question ... while there's no law that says mixed race marriage is illegal, there's no law that says the state justice of the peace "was obligated" to issue a marriage license or marry the couple. Huh??! As an attorney, can you explain this to me? Does there need to be a law to mandate equal access to a basic civil right?


Anonymous said...

I'd say that the United States Constitution is "a law that says the state justice of the peace 'was obligated" to issue" the marriage license.

Perhaps the ABC reporter was no more a lawyer than the JP himself! I tried to look up this JP in the Louisiana Bar Directory and could not find him, so I'm betting that he's not a lawyer and has not even a basic understanding of his obligations under the Constitution. You would think they would cover this in JP training, though, wouldn't you!?!?


Wendy said...

Although I am disgusted, I am not surprised. For all of the talk of equality, I think those who have their eyes open see the extremely long road ahead.

Margie said...

How old is this judge? I would love to know if he's a dinosaur (so I can hope he's a dying breed) or if I need to be even more scared than this makes me.