Judge refuses to marry interracial couple; says bad for kids

The Associated Press reports 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.

The justice 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,’  Keith 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.’ ”

“Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.”

As a Caucasian woman married to an Asian man, I am so offended by this! Our kids are mixed race and in our current community we don’t have any issues with it.

I think Michael did experience some racism when he was a child, but that would have happened if was full Asian or mixed Asian.  So I don’t think that not mixing fixes the problem of racism.

What do you think: Are you OK with mixed marriages? Do you even think it’s an issue in today’s society? Do you think mixed race marriages experience harder times than other marriages? Do you think being mixed does affect the way kids are treated? Are “pure” minorities treated better or worse than a “mixed” child?

74 comments Add your comment

YUKI

October 16th, 2009
3:03 pm

As far as we have come in this issue, it’s pretty funny that this guy is still refusing to do this. I say, to each his own and you should be able to marry whoever you like as far as race goes. I will say that I think it does affect the children sometimes, even in this day and age like it or not. But I think as a whole it’s not as much of a big deal anymore as it used to be.

and I’m sorry to be suprised Theresa, but your husband is Asian? Your children are beautiful but i would have never guessed from the picture above. I have found that most kids from mixed races are adorable children.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 16th, 2009
3:07 pm

His mother was Filipino and his father was from Italy — they met in Okinawa and married in the Philippines. It’s funny because even though my kids are just a fourth Asian they have all had the Mongolian spot birthmark on all three bottoms and backs — Asians, African-Americans and Hispanic children often have these birthmarks. And all three of mine did. So there’s definitely some Asian DNA going on in there.

DB

October 16th, 2009
3:08 pm

I suspect this judge probably wouldn’t have thought twice about marrying an Asian to a Caucasian. I could be wrong, but it seems his issue was with Blacks and Caucasians. I think it’s less a issue than it was 40 years ago — but there are ignorant people everywhere who feel the need to make distinctions based on color, employment, sexual orientation or gender.

New Stepmom

October 16th, 2009
3:11 pm

One of my dear friends is black and her husband is white and they are very happy and have two of the most beautiful boys you have ever seen. Having celebrated their wedding 6 years ago, it makes me sick that this JA is trying to stop people from loving each other…hopefully his attempts are in vain.

I am sure there will be stupid comments by some to thier boys over time, but unfortunately all kids get teased about something. I hope these kids know how much they are loved by thier parents and extended family and that knowledge gets them through any tough times created by ignorant people.

Stan

October 16th, 2009
3:12 pm

Michael’s asian?!?! That’s it, i’m never coming here again.

Just kidding

I’m a white guy that grew up off of Glenwood Rd in Decatur which is very much a mostly black area and was when I grew up. I don’t care at all if people marry across racial lines, I don’t think you get to ‘pick’ who you fall in love with. I don’t care about gays/lesbians marring, at least as far as a JOP type wedding. The Church has the right to not allow it, but any marriage performed as a governmental function should be open to all.

This guy seems to be forcing his views on others. They should just get someone else to marry them, and invite him to the wedding :)

ATLkelly

October 16th, 2009
3:19 pm

Idea for future column – thinking about the balloon boy, a column on “close calls” with your kids? Reminds me of the time my son tried to jump over the neighbor’s fence. He got his shoelace caught on one of the boards and fell forward – right on to a bale of pine straw the neighbors had picked up but had not spread around. Otherwise he would have probably fractured his skull. He survived and is more coordinated now at age 13!

JATL

October 16th, 2009
3:19 pm

What a moron! The only person who probably has a problem with it is him! Louisiana is even more full of mixed race people than the rest of the country -black, white, hispanic, asian -you name it -they’ve left their mark on Louisiana and all married or at least had kids with each other. I guess it depends on where you live, but even in tiny southern towns like the one I grew up in, there are plenty of mixed race kids (specifically black/white), and no one thinks twice about them. People’s specific families may have issues, but that’s personal and not something for the judge to worry about.The people in my town who have issues are old or keep their opinions to themselves. I agree with another comment that he wouldn’t have batted an eye if it had been an Asian and Causasian or Hispanic and Black or something like that. He seems to be hung up on the white/black thing. Just another fool making the south look fantastic.

Becky

October 16th, 2009
3:30 pm

I agree with YUKI, I guess with each their own..I know that our preacher at church will not marry anyone that has been divorced before..He wouldn’t even marry his daughter to her (now) husband, because this is the way that he feels..

I have three nieces and one nephew that have a Hispanic parent and as far as I know they have never had any problems with this..I guess it just varies from person to person..Like YUKI said, in my opinion most children of mixed races that I have ever seen are always beautiful..

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
3:33 pm

My favorite line: “…they use my bathroom, I treat them like everybody else”. If that doesn’t scream idiot, I have no clue what does. The blacks that have ascended to the status of being able to use his bathroom must whistle the theme song from ‘The Jeffersons’ everyday!

Seriously though, race relations in this country were getting better but are not only getting worse, but also becoming more violent. The best example of deteriorating race relations in this country is to look at the race relations since the Obama presidency. Before anyone even goes there – this is not a pro or anti Obama comment. It is to illustrate the disrespect to the Office of the President since Obama took office. And yes, I do believe some of that disrespect is because he is a person of color. Staunch bigots are now coming out of the woodwork under the auspices of (faux) patriotism.

Please know it works both ways. You want to see a black woman rant and rave? Watch a group of black women together if they see a black man with a white woman. They are just as bad as this judge.

As much as we would like to believe race relations are great and racism is a thing of the 60’s, that just isn’t reality.

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
3:35 pm

I tried to comment, it may be in spam. Theresa, do you see it?

Melinda

October 16th, 2009
3:37 pm

Come on it’s 2009, if you look around, there are so many mixed people. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. People will love no matter what, and you should love them even if they are black or white. As “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, You don’t have to hide or break rules anymore to love someone of another race. The south, sadly, needs to hurry and grow up. Blacks aren’t slaves anymore, and whites are, slowly, getting better at accepting that. People themselves have the right to put their children here, and I mean we have all had our moments where we wish “We weren’t born.” But it get over that. Be proud, not cocky, of what you are. And Southern people need to leave behind the past, not all southerns are like that, but some are. That’s about it, Grow up.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 16th, 2009
3:42 pm

Andrea == I’ll look for it –

Becky

October 16th, 2009
3:47 pm

Stan, you are right..I don’t care if they are pink, green or purple, if they are in love and want to get married, let them..I have a coworker that thinks it wrong for blacks and whites to have children, yet she doesn’t think it wrong for other races to mix..So some people think one way and live another..

FCM

October 16th, 2009
3:55 pm

He has just as much right to his opinion as anyone.

My children are 4th Gen Irish/3rd Gen Italian descent with cousins of a Jewish/Christian mixed marriage, and an 3rd Gen Italian/1st Gen Hispanic mixed marriage. My brother’s children will have an 4th Gen Irish/2nd Gen German mixture. My cousin’s children are 1st Gen German/4th Gen Irish mix.

I hate to tell that judge but you would be hard pressed to find anyone of several generations American of not being mixed with something. He’s opinion is narrow minded and foolish and but I respect his right to have it.

Why be offended? He never said they should not marry, just the he in good conscience could not perform the ceremony or sign the documents. He even refers them to the other JP in the area who has no such social issues in his mind.

The guy is elected not appointed. So elect someone else.

To me it’s like the pharmacist who won’t give the morning after-pill. Just don’t shop his drugstore!

FCM

October 16th, 2009
4:01 pm

(Still mad so I had to do a second post)

The state should be able to issue marriage license to same gender couples or inter-racial couples. That should be mandated by the law of the state not a single judge. However if a sanctioned official (the Priest, Rabbi, Judge etc) did not want to perform it that should be ok. If they are elected then vote them out if you do not agree with them. If they are not (like a Priest or Rabbi) then just go to someone else that is sanctioned and willing to perform it.

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
4:05 pm

@FCM: Sure the couple can go to someone else, but why should they have to? This is a publically elected official that is sworn to uphold the laws governing the state. His personal views do not allow him to circumvent the very laws he swore to uphold. In this case, he should be sanctioned.

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
4:06 pm

Oops – typing to fast. I meant he should be challenged.

Jack McMillan

October 16th, 2009
4:10 pm

It used to be a free country. Those days are long gone. The gentleman had every right to say no
and he knew that the couple would have NO problem having another justice of the peace do the duty.
So why all the fuss. Can we please make this a free country again? You know, one where it is ok to
have YOUR OWN BELIEFS!

KIM

October 16th, 2009
4:10 pm

It is also NOT ok for pharmacists to impose their religious or other beliefs on their customers. THEY should get a job elsewhere, preferably Iran or Saudi Arabia, where they have a theocracy.

Jennifer

October 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

Holy cow, FCM, your kids are “mutts”! (That is meant in pure fun! And it’s coming from a “mutt” herself! I am a mixture of who knows what.) Teresa, did you see the video of the baby that rolled off the train platform and was run over by the train and survived? I am surprised the mother didn’t die of heart failure…the video is so scary to watch. On this issue, personally, I agree with Andrea that a public official shouldn’t be able to say “no” in a situation like this at all. I think a church official should be able to if the couple doesn’t qualify under the beliefs of that church. And, I am speaking as a divorced woman who wouldn’t qualify under some of those restrictions.

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
4:15 pm

It’s still a free country. He has the right to feel any way he chooses. He does NOT have the right to try to use those views to violate the oath of the PUBLIC office he was elected to. If he feels that strongly, and he knows that performing marriages is a part of the job, he never should have taken the job.

Stan

October 16th, 2009
4:15 pm

You can have your own opinions, however if you are an elected official, you MUST treat everyone exactly the same in reguards to the law. Marriage (between man and woman) is legal. Here are a man and a woman asking to be wed, he refused. That is what makes it wrong.

FCM, second post, that is exactly what i was trying to say.

leeh1

October 16th, 2009
4:15 pm

He wouldn’t have married two white guys or two black women, either! So many kinds of discrimination!

Lauren

October 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

The south is such an embarrassment! He is a huge racist and his denial of it is just pathetic. Oh, he lets black people use his toilet so he must not be a racist. Right!!! It is none of his business who gets married and who gives a rat’s patoot what he believes about mixing of the races. He is a judge and it is his job to see the law is carried out. If two people can legally get married then he should marry them or step down from the bench.

FCM

October 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

” This is a publically elected official that is sworn to uphold the laws governing the state”

So elect someone else

lmno

October 16th, 2009
4:32 pm

This says a lot about the people who elected him. It also would seem to violate the constitution.

Not Just in the South!

October 16th, 2009
4:35 pm

Racism is still alive and well. I truly believe it’s more apparent with black and white. Not discounting the Asian-White relationships, I believe any interracial relationships other than Black/White is acceptable. I started a new job and when my supervisors found out that I was married to someone of a different race, our work relationship changed. I’m no longer with the company.

Andrea

October 16th, 2009
4:38 pm

@FCM: I agree the people should elect someone else. But until they do, he should uphold the laws while he is in office and if he refuses to do so, he should be relieved of his duties and an interim judge should be appointed.

Ann David

October 16th, 2009
4:42 pm

I am white woman married to a black man. We have 4 beautiful daughters and one very cute grandson with another on the way in February. My daughters have been brought up in a Christian home where everyone is seen as a child of God. We have taught our girls from the very beginning that there may be people who do not agree with their parentage but that is there hangup. We have taught them to treat others the way they wanted to be treated and the only problenms they have had have been from darker skin black woman who are haters.In the Bible their is race mixing all through it. Jesus himself was a Jew (brown skin, coarse hair). By the way to the ignorant judge that said these unions do not last how do you explain my marriage of going on 21 years in April. Just saying!

Ms Chelle

October 16th, 2009
4:44 pm

It’s a shame some people still think the way the Judge does…I’m sure they’ll be HAPPILY MARRIED REAL SOON…GOOD LUCK TO THEM :)

R.I.P. CUZ “ASHLEY ‘AJ’ JEWELL

Darla

October 16th, 2009
4:45 pm

It is amazing to me that he thinks he a full blooded anything. If everyone were to trace their heritage they would find something down the line I am sure. We are all mutts. White people landed here too. Maybe he has forgotten his history. Unless he is a true blooded 100% Indian, which he isn’t then he isn’t full blooded either. I am sure that he is mixed with Irish, Scottish or something. I have been married to a black man for over 10 years. We have 2 beautiful boys together. We couldn’t be happier. The children have the best of both worlds. It is thinking like this that should be abolished. There is only one race and that is the of the “Human” persuation. If more people would think along those lines, we would be a much more happier society.

Becky

October 16th, 2009
4:57 pm

To Ann and Darla..I would just like to say congratulations on having a long marriage..That in itself is something to be proud of, since so many marriages don’t last near as long as both of yours has..

HB

October 16th, 2009
5:00 pm

“To me it’s like the pharmacist who won’t give the morning after-pill. Just don’t shop his drugstore!”

Yeah, except that can be a real problem if you live in a rural area with only one or two drugstores and all refuse to sell it. Refusal by some can equate to NO access. I’m glad that this area has a JP who will perform the ceremony, but what if they didn’t? What if the majority of voters agreed with this JP and kept him in? Do you really think that 51% of people in a local community should be able to overule state law that protects citizens against racial discrimination? Absolutely not.
He is sworn to uphold the laws of the state. He should do so or else step down or be removed.

King Leer

October 16th, 2009
5:01 pm

Why is it the stupid racists on the AP wire are always from the South? What an embarassment! I know there are bigots up North. I’ve met some before. Yet it’s always the Southerner in the headlines bragging about all his “black friends” while at the same time defending some time-honored “tradition” or “community values” like separate proms or opposing interracial marriage.

The idea of separate races is going to be antiquated by next century anyway. Blacks and whites are already mixed in the U.S. anyway, thanks to slavery and other forces. Ever meet anybody from mid-Africa? They’re so dark they’re practically purple. Most African-Americans I know are not that dark, so guess what? Why lock the barn door after the horses have already bolted, Mr. Justice of the Peace?

mitzymy

October 16th, 2009
5:06 pm

My brother and his wife are a Black/White couple. They have been married for 25 years. Recently our mother died, and she and my brother took on the responsibilty of taking care of our older brother who is handicapped, by speech. They never had children, but they treat my brother as if he were their offspring. My neice recently had a Blk/Wht mixed baby girl and she is beautiful. I predict in the next 20 years or so, there will be no color or race. They will all look alike. By that time, this JD will be dead, and good ridance.

mitzymy

October 16th, 2009
5:13 pm

In America, there are no full blooded African Americans. They were all mixed with some other race sometime in history. The slave owners had children by the women slaves, and when the Native American Indians hid the slaves on their reservations, they mated with the women also. The slave owners were all from other countries, so there is another mixture of races, Irish, English etc. So no one is pure.

Hogwashd

October 16th, 2009
5:20 pm

And I have a beatiful Labrador I would like to marry as well. Nothing wrong with that either. Same sex, same race. H3ll, we’re both mammals..

Tyree

October 16th, 2009
5:44 pm

@Hog.You are an azz.

soulfinger

October 16th, 2009
5:45 pm

Wow!! I am so proud. I was scared that I was going to read a bunch of silly racist comments here! I say again…wow!! You people are beautiful. I love men PERIOD!! White, Black, Asian, Mexican…bring it on. I dont see color. I wish everyone else would see things that way. Soon i pray!

Scarecrow

October 16th, 2009
5:46 pm

OOOPs Judge!! One of those racially-mixed kids became President!!! Dang and that Kid went to Harvard, and he was a Senator — that is what happen to those kids!!! I wonder what your pure white kids are doing?

Hogwashd

October 16th, 2009
7:37 pm

@Tyree

You obviously like to climb INTO azz.

Richrd Rombole

October 16th, 2009
8:32 pm

Unfortunately there are still ignorant racist in America. Of course, that is an understatement. As far the this justice of the peace is concerned, I cannot understand how this jerk is this sitting as a justice of the peace, since he admits he has been carrying out his racist views since he has been on the bench – 35 years. The question is why has not the Supreme Court of Louisana through its disciplinaray board taken action against the justice of the peace by removing him. The fact that it has not, clearly means the Supreme Court of Louisana condones his actions. The coupe who was rejected should take legal action in federal court not only against the justsice of the peace but also against the Supreme Court of Louisana, neither would be immune.

Valstake

October 16th, 2009
10:54 pm

Are you folks so ignorant that you think Irish, German, hispanic, etc. is a “race?” Hello! Anybody home? There are 3 major races on the planet: Caucasian, Black, Asian. That’s it. Don’t confuse nationality or ethnicity with race. Jeez.

Annie

October 17th, 2009
12:09 am

Rascism is alive & well still, in this day and age; to me, children of interacial relationships are much more open minded than children of a one race family. They should be the foundation of our future, not those who had hatred instilled in them from an early age. And don’t say it doesn’t go on – it does. Children learn from example and it’s up to us to teach our children to look beyond color, beyond nationality, and just embrace the person for who they are.

JATL

October 17th, 2009
12:17 am

Scarecrow -I love your comment -no kidding -if mixed race kids have such horrible problems from society, how in God’s name did one of them get elected President of the United States? This judge is so stupid! He’s trying to backpeddle over his racist beliefs.

deidre_NC

October 17th, 2009
6:20 am

i am not racist…my kids have dated people of other races…married them…had kids with them…no problem here…but i dont think anyone should have to do anything they feel morally opposed to…or ethically opposed to…if its in this mans job description to marry anyone legally allowed to marry hen he needs to get another job i guess…you gotta do your job…but you dont have to keep a job that demands you do things you dont believe in….

Education

October 17th, 2009
6:26 am

Valstake

Modern scientist debate how to classify race because race as a term has never been defined. It has only been a grouping of people of certain characteristics. The modern scientist would split race into: Homo sapiens period.

Homo habilis (Africa) and Homo erectus (Europe and Asia) the preceders to the Homo sapians died out millions of years ago during nomadic times with a blending of the population.

The more commonly known 20th century classifications (and the ones I learned in Sociology) are:

Mongoloid
Austaloid
Capoid
Negroid
Caucasoid

Religious, cultural, social, national, ethnic, linguistic, genetic, geographical and anatomical groups have been and sometimes still are called “race” in relationship to subclass or subspecies. Europe has 8 subclasses which are defined by ethnic group or nationality:

Russian
French
British
German
Italian
Ukranian
Polish/Poles
Spanish

In the United States the subclass/subspecies is much larger.

Therefore the classification by ethnicity or nationality is valid.

Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America (dry by important reading) in 1835 -1840. He was sent here to study the American Government and the prison system. What he found was the early debates that lead to the American Civil War.

Regarding the future of America on the Race Debate he concluded that any of only 3 things could and must happen for there to be peace on this subject. (Note any of these things not all) paraphrased this would be:

1. All of the “then’ slaves would have to be deported out of the North American Continent.

2. A section of lands (in the unsettled west) would be set up and given to the ‘then’ slaves and they would be declared their own nation within the US borders. (Interesting side note: This is what the government end up doing to Native Americans, except the US retained control. That is the Reservations we have today).

3. All the races would eventually intermix to the point where no ethnic background would be able to be determined by color of skin alone. That is to say EVOLUTION would take over.

It has been my personal experience that both sides of the black & white debate have many hateful people in them. However the haters need to get over themselves, evolution is going to win, mixed babies are a thing of the past, present, and future.

thankateacher

October 17th, 2009
12:56 pm

Don’t you just love it when people use the following phrases:

1. The children of a mixed race union will suffer. Which really means, the children of a Black/White union will suffer.

2. I have black friends. That really means that the person would never marry a black person, but will “tolerate” black people, especially if it means doing business with them and making a profit from them.

3. Culturally, people of the same race tend to be happier with their own. This really means that the white race needs to be preserved at all costs

motherjanegoose

October 17th, 2009
3:37 pm

People should only marry within their own race.

It’s all about the blacks trying to make everyone be the same race so they don’t get discriminated against.

Whites are better blacks just deal with it.

LivininATL

October 18th, 2009
6:23 pm

A little late responding but I had to chime in and agree with a previous post. As a white woman married to a black man the ONLY people that ever give us attitude are black women. Not even the Bubbas give us grief..only the sisters. We just laugh it off…why would we even care what they think about our family.

As for our son he has never had one word said to him….so no suffering on his end….nice try judge.