Mixed-Race Couple Denied Marriage License in Louisiana

Thursday, October 15, 2009


A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an mixed-race 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.

But Bardwell told the Daily Star newspaper that he is not a racist.

“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves. In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

I am all too familiar with judicial activism (think: the 2000 presidential election and the U.S. Supreme Court) but in 2009, but for a judge to refuse to marry a mixed-race couple is not only unusual — it’s illegal.

The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office.

This entry was posted in Human Rights, International News, KKK, News, Racism, Southern Loon Watch and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Mixed-Race Couple Denied Marriage License in Louisiana

  1. DMason says:

    Christopher – This is an amazing story. Where did you find it? I mean, it’s 2009, not 1939 for goodness sake. If I were a betting man I would say this judge may very likely get disbarred. His actions are totally outrageous.

  2. stradella says:

    Maybe this Keith Bardwell judge isn’t aware of the fact President Barack Obama is of mixed heritage and last I checked, he’s done extremely well, both personally and professionally.

    As an African American woman, this story just makes me seethe with anger, as the racism is so obvious, so apparent, I could sit on it and I’m not skinny.

    Thanks for posting this, Chris.

  3. Harry says:

    Judge Bardwell wants to keep the races pure. What’s wrong with that? LMAO! Unbelievable.

  4. retahyajyajav says:

    Aren’t there judicial standards that govern judges?

    This Bardwell has tossed out U.S. Supreme Court rulings as well as Louisiana Supreme Court decisions all of which ended miscegenation in the 1960s.

  5. Linda says:

    OMFG! The “South” is alive and well…..sadly! I say this half seriously: we really shouldve rescued the slaves, brought them all to the North, and let the redneck fundamentalist idiots secede when we had the chance! Did we really need their cotton that badly?! They’d be a backward thirdworld country on our southern border by now but we wouldnt have to put up with their racists, homophobes, fundamentalists and teabaggers trying to keep ALL Americans from their civil rights!

  6. Walk on Socks says:

    President Obama and Halle Berry are mixed and they’ve turned out well and by all account, have achieved a high level of professional achievement.

    I guess this idiot judge never heard of them?

    He should be disbarred.

  7. Future RN says:

    ok. allow me to first start off with i am white. i am not by any means racists. as a matter of fact if it turns out that i cannot have children i would love to have children of all races because i think it is truly a beautiful thing to be different but all appear the same and level. secondly i am studying to be a nurse. i am a big softy at heart. quick to love and hard to anger. but oddly enough i find more peace in choosing the republican side politically. i believe that we are all animals. we are biologically doomed to fail at something in our lives haha. people need order, structure. if you have a room full of people who cannot make a decision, and believe that is ok does the room accomplish any central goals? no. it does not. you will stand their locked in your own world with no unity. that being said. i dont think this justice was wrong at all. racism is the display of hatred towards an entire group of people based upon their biological features only. He stood up for what he believes in. He had a damn good point. My mom is a drug head. If i were a justice i wouldnt marry someone i know has a drug addiction because of the kids. He was not rude, he gave them an alternative. And further more what was hurt from this situation? did they get married? of course they did. because it is not illegal for them to get married. their rights have not been stripped away. stop attacking this man. liberals always yell for people to stop being so close minded. wanting an entire nation to hold the same values, and beliefs is very close minded. people will always disagree. it is not illegal for interracial couples to get married. so stop bitching. the man has his own views, as do i, and as do all of you. WHAT MAKES YOURS RIGHT? WHAT MAKES YOURS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIS?

  8. Future RN says:

    oh yeah one other thing. Did he tell any of you to feel the same way as him? Did he threaten to take away anything from you if you do not share the same views/principles as he does? Then how in the world is it remotely right/justified to demand that he feel bad for his views? People want him to loose his job, people want him to “change his ways”. Well you’re ignorant and selfish if you want that. Because Bardwell just wanted to stand firm, and not contribute. He didn’t rally or march for them to not have the right. This country has gone apeshit crazy over the topic of race. Psst. Want in on a little secret? If you all just shut the hell up. Mind your own damn business. Be grateful after all of the turmoil in the world that a country like the USA exists. Be grateful your destiny wasn’t to be a Jew during world war II. quite focusing on stupid claims of racism. Everyone needs to get over themselves. Whites are no better than anyone else. Blacks are no better than anyone else. all of our races do not determine any human quality. you can be a peace of shit wearing any color of skin. you can be a great person no matter race. everyone needs to shut the fuck up and worry about our nation’s finance and other really serious issues. stop worrying about each others personal views. you have the luxury of choosing your own view dammit.

  9. Fran says:

    **ignores future rn**

    This judge overstepped & is into dictatorship.
    He does not get to pick & choose what marriages he personally approves of. He also assumes married couples have children. As others have pointed out, biracial children have done quite well, so all of his assumptions are wrong.
    This guy would have us going backwards in time to Jim Crow laws.

  10. Jami says:

    Wow, Future RN, you are really entertaining… And scary. Let me help you out…
    A judge’s charge (job) is to uphold the law, not to MAKE the law. A judge can have whatever personal opinions he wants, but when he applies them to decisions that affect the lives of others, especially when these opinions are in contradiction to (that means disagreement with) the law, it is illegal and he should be held accountable.

  11. Randy Arroyo says:

    Future RN — Please don’t ever work at a hospital where I may be admitted and require care. You’re one scary individual and not suited to be an RN. In fact, you’re not suited to work at KFC.

  12. Linda says:

    @Randy….excellent. I couldnt have said it better myself. I AM an RN and any RN with such limited critical thinking skills and obvious prejudice (even though she’s in total denial about the fact) should not be an nurse. As for the comment that the judge has the right to his “opinion”: he doesnt have the right for his opinion to impact the lives of those around him he’s serving as a public official. He has to uphold the law regardless of his racist opinions. What makes my opinion right is that it’s backed by federal law put in place by the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case 42 years ago! Forty-two years ago! How do dinasaurs like him survive in 2009!? Only in the South!

  13. Gleneagle says:

    The last US Supreme Court case struck down the practice of miscegenation in 1967.

    Perhaps, Future RN is unaware of this.

  14. feminazi says:

    Across the United States, there are communities who have a history of discriminating against groups based on race, ethnicity and religion. The history of Beverly Hills and Pasadena come to mind. In the 1920s to the 1940s, Jews were not permitted to buy homes in Pasadena, so wealth studio executives bought in Beverly Hills. Old property transfer documents in Phoenix before 1950 expressly state “No negro may purchase this house.” Luckily, such beliefs died and were challenged legally. This Louisiana judge is not only wrong but his actions are illegal.

  15. libhomo says:

    After the civil war, we should have deported all the Confederates and handed over all of the land they held to its rightful owners: the slaves who did the real work.

  16. i feel that that man was really wrong and it doesn’t matter if they are gay or not they should get married. he needs to be fired, i mean i’m straight and i’m cool with gay people. he was mean and rude i don’t feel he should even marry people at all or else i’ll feel as if louisiana is not worthy to please the people and i live in louisiana but i live in slidell

  17. Sheldon says:

    Wow, really?

  18. Linda says:

    @gabrielle earl — Good point and i’m happy you are cool with Gay people…but this was a bi-racial STRAIGHT couple. Not a Gay couple. If they’re still denying marriages to bi-racial straight couples 42 years after Loving v Virginia, you can imagine how many *centuries* these rednecks will be trying to deny marriage to same-sex couples when the day finally comes that we have a federal law for marriage equality! Let alone bi-racial same-sex couples!

  19. Sienna says:

    Try not to hate the whole South because of one idiot judge, folks.

    His ruling is ridiculous and wretched.

    But the whole South isn’t like that. Plenty of us are just as outraged as you yankees.

  20. Ian says:

    This is a clear case of discrimination and is wrong. I am a 47 year old white Air Force Veteran. Earlier this year my father in law passed away. I notified my employer Foothills Presbyterian Community in Easley,South carolina and was given permission to attend the funeral out of state, The day I returned my position was eliminated. This is despite the fact that others with less seniority were retained. This included the african american grandaughter of a senior supervisor. I reported the incident to the State and nothing was done. When I was a young child my parents took me to DC for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I have always lived my life with that as a guide. It is a same that discrimination still exists in this great nation.

  21. Ian says:

    May this couple have many years of Blessed Marriage.

  22. Nan Yun says:

    I married late for a Chinese woman. I was 28, educated and had a career.

    Despite pressure from my parents to marry a Chinese man, I married a white American man from Seattle, WA. My parents were very angry with me but they finally accepted my husband as a part of our family. In fact, my mother now adores my American husband.

    I simply cannot fathom how such a vile act could be perpetuated on this mixed race couple by an agent of the court.

    This is not what I consider to be American. I am saddened.

  23. Kara says:

    I am married to an african american man. He has a college degree as do most in his family. He is from Arkanasas and I am from Michigan. Thank God we weren’t living in LA when we decided to get married.

    BTW…not only is Obama mixed, so is Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Mariah Carey.

    That judge needs to go!!!!!!

  24. sandra says:

    to ‘future rn’… your comment is very misguided! i am studying race and ethnicity and our great lecturer pointed out this story in class today.. how can you possibly compare your ‘drug head mother’ to an innocent couple who wish to marry? their rights have been restricted here because of this judge’s ignorance and also your comparison is a little invalid.. how can you give the example of somebody who choses to use drugs to somebody who is born with certain biological traits which then puts them into a ‘racial category’.

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