A Louisiana Justice of the Peace refused to grant an interracial couple a marriage license yesterday on the grounds that their children might suffer from lack of acceptance. Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that during his 34 years as a Justice of the Peace, he has always refused to grant marriage licenses to interracial couples, but has never experienced opposition before.
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press.” 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.”
Beth Humphrey and Terrence McKay, the couple, say they will be consulting the US Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint. Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Marjorie R. Esman told the Hammond Daily Star that Bardwell’s decision was illegal, and has been so for since the Loving vs. Virginia case in 1963. “The government cannot discriminate based upon race, which is what is happening here,” she said. “The choice of a spouse is deeply personal, and the government simply cannot prevent you from marrying the person you love, based upon skin color.”