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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Newlywed won't tolerate 'overt racism' by Louisiana official








 The woman who was denied a marriage license by a Louisiana justice of the peace because he refused to marry interracial couples said the official should lose his job.
Beth McKay says she's still hurt over the controversy surrounding her marriage to her black fiance.
Beth McKay says she's still hurt over the controversy surrounding her marriage to her black fiance.

Beth McKay said she never could have expected what she heard from Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell when she called his office a week ago to officiate her marriage to her African-American fiance, Terence.
McKay spoke with Bardwell's wife to make arrangements for the ceremony.
"At the end of the conversation, she said that she had to ask me a question. She asked if this was an interracial marriage." When McKay replied yes, she was told, "Well, we don't do interracial weddings or marriages."
McKay said she was beyond shock. "We are used to the closet racism, but we're not going to tolerate that overt racism from an elected official."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is calling to have Bardwell's license revoked, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is calling for his dismissal -- a notion shared by McKay.
"He's not representing all the people that he is supposed to be representing," McKay said. "He's only representing the people with his same opinions."

Bardwell has not returned repeated calls from CNN, but he told a local newspaper in a story published Thursday that he was not a racist and he was concerned for the children who might be born of the relationship.McKay later married Terence with the help of another justice of the peace in the same parish.
Bardwell also said, in his experience, that most interracial marriages don't last.
Video"We're just kind of hurt, you know?" McKay told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday. "This doesn't take care of the problem. He's been in his position for 34 years. So, it doesn't take care of the problems that we have to deal with on a daily basis."
McKay said her friends and family have been extremely supportive and she believes this situation occurred for a reason.


The Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage in the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case. Richard and Mildred Loving, who married in Washington, D.C., were arrested in their Virginia home with their marriage license framed and hanging on the wall, for the simple fact of being husband and wife.

In the unanimous decision, the court said 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."

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement Bardwell's practices and comments were deeply disturbing.
"Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long," she said. (Source:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091016/ap_on_re_us/us_interracial_rebuff)


“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann. She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 “that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.” “He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzmann said.
Source:http://cofcc.org/2009/10/justice-of-the-peace-keith-bardwell-stands-up-for-gods-law


In regards to Bardwell's claims that   he was concerned for the children who might be born of the relationship, I found this statement:


"Racists use excuses like that all the time, said Ryan Peterson in RightJuris.com. (website address:http://law.rightpundits.com/?p=900, Ryan Peterson states:


 "Keith Bardwell is dreaming if he thinks anyone will believe he's not prejudiced because "he treats all interracial couples the same, like dirt." But the bottom line is that Bardwell is putting himself above Louisiana law, which places no racial restrictions on people wishing to marry, so he needs to be removed from office."
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Source:http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/17/interracial.marriage/index.html





The number of interracial marriages have skyrocketed, nearly quadrupling between 1970 and 2005, the most recent year for which there is census data. As of 2005, nearly 8.5 million Americans are living in so-called mixed marriages.


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It is great to see that Beth and Terence can get married, and that Bardwell might get dismissed from his job!

2 comments:

Mike Licht said...

Tangipahoa Parish has another claim to fame: It was the filming location for In the Heat of the Night, the TV show about race and the law.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/not-in-tangipahoa-parish/

Wayne said...

Hi Mike,
thanks for the comment and for visiting my blog.Wow I never knew that about Tangipaho Parish,thanks for educating me and everyone who reads your response!

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