…you’re a justice of the peace who refuses to issue marriage licenses to interracial couples.
Keith Bardwell, who has been a justice of the peace for 34 years in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, says he always asks couples who call to inquire about marriage if they are interracial, and if the answer is yes, his answer is no. Louisiana law, of course, makes no mention of race. It requires only that the parties present their birth certificates, Social Security cards, and $35 (and proof of divorce if either was previously married).
Bardwell, bless his heart, invokes the “black friends” defense:
“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.”
And he further defends himself by pointing out that he treats all interracial couples the same:
If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.
“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.
So he doesn’t discriminate in his discrimination. Or something. And, hey, it’s not like he keeps those couples from marrying. They just have to go elsewhere. It’s just like pharmacists who use “conscience” clauses to refuse to dispense legally prescribed medications. No harm, no foul, right? He only wants to protect The Childrentm.
“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.”
Seriously, did I just stumble through a temporal rift? I thought this was 2009, not 1959. Mr. Bardwell, I believe it’s time to retire. You can spend your golden years going to Klan meetings and pining for the good old days of racial purity.