Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Justice of the Peace Who Refused to Marry Interracial Couple Resigns

A justice of the peace in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who refused to marry a couple because the bride was white and groom was black resigned.

Keith Bardwell, who is white, quit the post with a one-sentence statement ("I do hereby resign the office of Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, effective November 3, 2009.") to the Louisiana secretary of state, Jay Dardenne, and no explanation of his decision.

He refused to perform the ceremony for Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay on Oct. 6 because they are of different races.

When questioned about his refusal, Bardwell acknowledged that he routinely recused himself from marrying interracial couples because he believed such marriages caused harm to the couples’ children.

Beth and Terence, who were married by another official, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bardwell and his wife, Beth, on Oct. 20, claiming the two violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Bardwell estimated he refused to marry at least four other interracial couples.


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