Yes, you read that right. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to grant honor a license for an interracial marriage. And apparently his objection and refusal had been fairly well known before this story came out.
Nevermind that this issue was addressed waaaaay back in 1967, wherein the US Supreme Court unanimously decided that “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” [Loving v. Virginia]
He’s decided that he has to do it. For the Children.
That’s right. He’s worried about the children that might be born of such a union and that, in his personal opinion, interracial marriages just don’t last.
Based on what?
The Hammond Daily Star reports him as saying:
““I’m not a racist,” Bardwell said. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.””
However, his objections is [also from the Hammond Daily Star]:
He said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. Bardwell said he came to the conclusion that most black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society.
“Yet, the children are innocent. They had nothing to do with that,” he said.
In many cases, he said, the grandparents or a relative ends up with the children.
“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.”
Bardwell thinks that interracial marriages don’t last; therefor, kids born of such marriages end up with relatives due to divorce; therefor he shouldn’t do interracial marriages. Not only is this illegal and blatantly racist, it’s ignorant.
What studies will he produce to show that interracial marriages don’t work? And how does he go about proving that race was the deciding factor when a good many uniracial marriages also don’t work? Sadly, we have a Divorce culture in USAmerica.
I’m sorry that this man has found a way to justify and excuse his racism. As he’s stated, he does have rights, too. However, under the law and as a representative of the law, he has an obligation not to discriminate against anyone else.
That’s the rub these days: Everyone seems to have rights. Who any longer knows their responsibilites?
He’s stated that if he were ever got in trouble for refusing to perform an interracial ceremony, that he’d resign.
I think he should probably do so.
For a quickprimer on the Biblical Creationist position on Racism and Interracial Marriage, read: https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/interracial-marriage/
Personally and as a minister, I think we need to toss the word “race” into the garbage can. The idea of human races is an evolutionary by-product. The Bible teaches that there is only one human race, born of Adam and Eve.