To the world, it seems as if Louisiana has a justice of the peace problem -- the Tangipahoa Parish official who refuses to marry interracial couples.
Indeed, that's the problem the state's elected officials want people to think they're trying to address. Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu have condemned the practices of Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell and want his resignation . . . or his removal by a judicial commission.
But the problem the press reports and the problem Louisiana pols addressed isn't the real problem in the sad case of some bumpkin JP suffering from a case of arrested moral and legal development. As I said on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, the problem is that Louisiana tolerates the likes of Keith Bardwell.
Citizens of Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward have tolerated Bardwell for 34 years -- he has run unopposed every election.
Interracial couples whom Bardwell has refused to marry -- he says he's declined to officiate four mixed-race ceremonies over the years -- have tolerated illegal discrimination against them, going quietly elsewhere to be married by another justice.
Other justices of the peace -- who well knew the score in Robert, La. -- never made a stink about blatant violations of state law and the U.S. Constitution.
AT LEAST one past Louisiana attorney general (according to Bardwell himself) knew, too. According to the Hammond (La.) Daily Star:
Bardwell said a justice of the peace is not required to conduct a marriage ceremony and is at liberty to recuse himself “from a marriage or anything else.”
He said the state attorney general told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.
“I told him if I do, I’ll resign,” Bardwell said. “I have rights too. I’m not obligated to do that just because I’m a justice of the peace.”
THE OFFICIAL charged with enforcing the state's laws (and I'd love to know which attorney general it was) told the racist JP he'd eventually get in trouble. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
But the AG -- like every other Louisiana official who knew what Bardwell was up to (or, rather, not up to) -- couldn't be bothered to report the errant official's discriminatory ways to the state's judicial board . . . or to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dat's Louisiana for you.
See, in Louisiana, you have priorities -- good food, strong coffee, juke joints, hunting and fishing, getting your bass boat in the water, beer, Mardi Gras, graft and LSU football. Then, way down on the list, you have justice and other silly crap.
And that's the problem -- Louisiana's bass-ackwards priorities and its tolerance of the kind of social and moral retardation that makes the Western world go "HUH???"
The Constitution of the United States -- as amended by Congress, ratified by the states and interpreted by the Supreme Court -- is pretty clear about some things. And since 1967 and Loving v. Virginia, the right of Americans to miscegenate in wedded bliss has been the law of the land.
Even in backwoods Louisiana.
WE KNOW a minor cog in the stripped gears of the Louisiana judiciary has a problem with that. And we also know, from reading the comments on various news stories, that other Louisianians do, too:
You hand wringers are so pathetic. Boo hoo for the poor couple. Well, if their parent's had raised them right this wouldn't even be an issue because they wouldn't be together in the first place. If you bleeding hearts don't like the values of us "backwards racists" then feel free to pack your crap and leave. I55 is a direct route out of here as is I12. Amtrak comes by every day and they can haul you too.
Where is the Klan when you need 'em? Time to drive the membership upward again and reclaim our country!
The races should be separate but equal. Negro men should leave the white women alone and stick to their own race. No mulatto children should be happening. It's the browning of America. I stand by Mr. Bardwell's decision.
I am from Louisiana and can tell you that what Mr.Bardwell has said and done has not embarrassed me or my state. He is saying exactly what we are thinking. Even Obama, is NOT black but half white and then again,his black father and family disowned him.But then he was forced to marry a black woman,even though he was raised by whites.Very few people would condone their children marrying a part black person and bringing biracial children into this world. They Do NOT fit in or are welcome most times and that is a fact. If course it is different with movie stars and others with money and especially in CA where that is an everyday norm. Very few blacks marry each other and choose to have children out of wedlock. Why are they so focused on marrying white women?Even Mr. Bardwell makes that observation. On the other hand, according to the black women I have spoken to,they are furious when a "good" black man marries a white woman as there are so few young black men alive or not incarcerated.Having equal rights does not mean that we have to accept biracial marriages.
first of all, who contacted the news for publicity? this sounds like a stunt to yell "RACISM", this is where it is wrong. I personally think this couple just wants attention. No harm done, really,they did get married after all. If the JP did not want to marry them, he should have said so.......... thats right, he did. So what is the real problem. People are turned away by one person or the next everyday and noone says anything. This is not racism, it is sicknening. The man should not have to be asked to resign because he does not want to marry someone. If that is the case, we need to have most of the preachers, judges, attorneys and our own parents resign from their duties because they would not do what we wanted. give me a break!!!! Everytime I look at the TV there is someone yelling racism for some reason, rather it is because a store says "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason", or because someone looked at someone wrong. Things are getting out of hand with the racism cards. I am not saying the man is totally right, but he is not totally wrong either, let it go, we have enough people trying to steel the lime light. you have had your fifteen minutes of fame.
LEAVE THE JUSTICE ALONE! Finally we have a decent Godly human being! Someone who stands behind his beliefs. Martin Luther King stood behind his that was ok.
Bobby Jindal I DID NOT vote for you and now NEVER will. I think WE THE PEOPLE should do an online petition in the Justice's behalf. And one asking for YOUR resignation Bobby Jindal!
Hey I am white and I think we should stay with white. not any other as you've listed.
These white girls are traitors to their white race!
I'm sorry I think this guy had every right to deny marriage to this couple. He didn't tell them they couldn't get married, he said he wouldn't marry them & referred them to another person who would marry them. How many churches refuse to marry people because they are different religions or have previously been married or because they don't believe they are compatable after completing pre-marriage counciling? Why should this be any different. I support inter racial marriages, but I think this man should have the right to refuse marriage to any one he chooses to do so, especially when the church does it on a daily basis.
keeping it real
This day in age, marriage is a joke anyway. If God was truly at the center of any marriage, this wouldn't be an issue. Bardwell has been an elected leader for over 30 years....just maybe, he's on to something....even if it's not the most popular thing according to mainsteam America? Why penalize a man for his convictions?...oh yeah, that has become the American way!
All I gotta say to the couple is....Prove Bardwell wrong. The odds are against you.
If the Justice of the Peace would have been African American, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and/or the couple was white and Italian, Italian and Indian racism would not be an issue. History is repeating itself, when someone gets their little feelings hurt they want to cry racism every time. Keith Bardwell has his conscience to deal with as well, even though he is an elected official. If and I say if, Mr. Bardwell broke the law then deal with that issue. Just because there is a law doesn’t mean the law is the right thing to do, after all when there is a jury convened they have the right to Jury Nullification if they think the law is a bad law and Mr. Bardwell has the same right. Seems to me if he were a racist he would not have performed ceremonies for black couples in the past nor would he have guided the couple to some one that would have performed the ceremony. That does not sound like a racist to me. Personally I think they do have the right to be married. Mosses married an Ethiopian I don’t have a problem with that.
Did it ever occur to anyone that this may all be a ruse. The New World Order controlled media likes to promote a stereotype of a "racist south" to keep us divided. Perhaps someone in the media paid off the Justice and the couple. I assume the Justice will not be charged even though he committed a crime. He will be asked to resign , which he will do. All three will be paid a hefty sum in secret and the media will have the race-baiting story they wanted.
HERE'S THE DEAL. Especially since Hurricane Katrina, Louisianians have been keen on collecting as much federal aid as Congress can be persuaded to appropriate. Something about them being Americans, too . . . yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah.
Of course, being "American" presupposes one is subject to American law, shares certain "American" values, adheres to basic tenets of American democracy -- you know, all the stuff we take for granted in Places Not Louisiana.
So maybe Louisiana needs to decide. Is it American or is it not?
I mean, you know how those mixed-nationality marriages are . . . they almost never work out. And who the hell wants to waste good money on a bad marriage?