Keith Bardwell — justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana — is receiving a lot of criticism today. I don’t know why. All he did was deny marriage license to people he didn’t think should be married. Sure, he has a traditional view of marriage that is not shared by everybody, but what is the problem with that? Bardwell explains his case to the Associated Press:
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”
Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.
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.
“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”
See, Bardwell isn’t a bigot. Oh no, he’s got “piles and piles” of friends! He’s just defending a traditional view of marriage that most people believed in centuries ago. I’m sure other defenders of outmoded conceptions of marriage will rush to Mr. Bardwell’s defense.
Let’s check out the reaction after the jump.
One might expect the ACLU to have something to say about this Bardwell. They’ve got this big bone to pick when it comes to “rights.” But it is pretty surprising to see the NAACP come out against Bardwell. I thought the organization did not want to challenge other people’s views of traditional marriage. Yet, according to CNN, they seem to be angry about Bardwell’s conscientious defense:
Civil rights advocates in eastern Louisiana are calling for a justice of the peace of Tangipahoa Parish to resign after he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.
“He’s an elected public official and one of his duties is to marry people. He doesn’t have the right to say he doesn’t believe in it,” Patricia Morris, president of the NAACP branch of Tangipahoa Parish, located near the Mississippi line, said Thursday.
I expect that Scott Fitzgibbon is preparing a commercial in defense of Bardwell as we speak. I can’t wait to hear his arguments for why Loving is bad law. But I’m sure I’ll believe it, he’s a law professor after all.
Interracial couple in Louisiana denied marriage license [CNN]
Interracial couple denied marriage license in La. [Yahoo News]