Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License In Louisiana

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From the Associated Press. I double checked the date: October 16, 2009:

NEW ORLEANS – A white 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.

“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.

The ACLU has asked for a state investigation of Bardwell. One couple–he black, she white–whom  Bardwell recently told would not get a marriage license said they plan to bring the matter to the U.S. Justice Department.At the end of the story, Bardwell adds:

“I’ve been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don’t think I’ve mistreated anybody,” Bardwell said. “I’ve made some mistakes, but you have too. I didn’t tell this couple they couldn’t get married. I just told them I wouldn’t do it.”

UPDATE: From commenter Paul-No: “He’s right to be concerned about the children. Heck they might even grow up to be President.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the Air Force One today, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was asked about the report: “I’ve seen the story and I’ve looked into this a little bit. And I found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good.  So in terms of anything else I just think it’s something that they’re dealing with locally.”