Judge Crawls Out of Medieval Times, Denies Marriage License to Mixed-Race Couple

In a move straight out of 1949, Louisiana Judge Keith Bardwell has denied a marriage licence to a young couple, one partner white, and the other black. His reasoning? It's for the kids. From the AP report:

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."


That's good to know, Keith. The couple doesn't seem too impressed:

Beth Humphrey, 30, and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, said she and McKay, a welder, just returned to Louisiana. She is white and he is black. She plans to enroll in the University of New Orleans to pursue a masters degree in minority politics.

"That was one thing that made this so unbelievable," she said. "It's not something you expect in this day and age."

"We are looking forward to having children," Humphrey said. "And all our friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Except for this, we're typical happy newlyweds."

Read the whole sad tale here.

And for more of The Root's coverage of mixed-race loving and the landmark 1967 case Loving v. Virginia that legalized interracial unions, read Monique Fields on "Loving in Alabama."

UPDATE The White House responded to the controversy via (biracial) deputy press secretary Bill Burton this week:

Q What does the President think about the Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who won't marry interracial couples?

BURTON: 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.