Louisiana Judge Won't Marry Interracial Couple

'I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way.'

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 15, 2009 7:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – A justice of the peace in rural Louisiana says he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell 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 says. "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. Counters the black would-be bride: "It's not something you expect in this day and age." The ACLU has demanded against Bardwell "the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice."

An interracial couple.   (Wikimedia Commons)
This undated photo shows President Obama's parents.   (AP Photo)
An interracial couple.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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I've been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don't think I've mistreated anybody. I didn't tell this couple they couldn't get married. I just told them I wouldn't do it. - Keith Bardwell

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