Posted by: JennyRain | October 16, 2009

Interracial couple denied marriage license in La.

Are you kidding me?

I am so saddened by this story. Where is the justice? Where is the love? I am amazed at how much prejudice still exists in our world today.

AP 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.

“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.” 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.

********

“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.”

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending “the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice.”

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzmann said.

 

Typically the ACLU drives me bananas, but in this case, I have to agree. My husband is Argentinian and German, so I wonder if this Judge Bardwell would have refused to marry us because of “mixed-ethnicities” – I mean – how “pure-bred” do we have to be to get an approval to be married by this guy?

The last time I checked, God said we were all equal in His eyes.

  • In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. (Gal 3:28 MSG)
  • Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Col 3:11 NIV)
  • The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. (Eph 2:14-17 MSG)

The last time I looked, Jesus more often exalted the “righteous outsider” than those who were considered “insiders.”

Consider the story of the Good Samaritan where Christ praises the Samaritan man who facilitates the healing of a man though two supposedly “righteous” Priests had passed this same dying man by without lifting a finger.

Consider the story of the ten lepers I spoke about yesterday where Christ praised the Samaritan for reaching across dividing lines to help, while the Priests maintained those lines of division.

Why does this world work so hard to divide what God in Christ came to reconcile and heal?

Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
I shall not fear anyone on earth.
I shall fear only God.
I shall not bear ill toward anyone.
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
I shall conquer untruth by truth.
And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering
* Mahatma Gandhi.

 

 

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Responses

  1. It is indeed quite a sad story; I saw it earlier on while I was checking my Yahoo! mail. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change I want to see in the world.” The justice said, “There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage. I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.” Shouldn’t the change start from him?

    • Agreed! That is also one of my favorite quotes… I have it up at work to remind me that anyone can make a change in the world.

      Thanks for reading,
      Jenny


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