Bardwell said that in his experience shows neither black nor white society accepts such biracial children. He also stated that interracial marriages do not last long. Thus, he refuses to grant marriage license for any interracial couples. He said:
“I’m not a racist. I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”I would be interesting to find out what Bardwell thinks of interracial couples of other races. For example, in California, it's quite common for Japanese-Americans to marry Caucasians. And in California, at least, there is no such issue with acceptance.
It is in fact true that Bardwell's act is illegal. In 1963, in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot prohibit marriages simply because of the race of the spouses. Thus, Bardwell's stance is over 50 years out of date.
Bardwell has been a justice of the peace for 34 years. This is his final term, though it does not end until 2014.
Beth Humphrey, 30, said she that and her fiance, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond, intend to consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.
Humphrey called Bardwell on Oct. 6th to ask about getting a marriage license signed. It was Bardwell's wife who spoke to Humphrey on the phone and told her of his stance. She also told Humphrey to consult Justice of the Peace Terri Crosby of Tickfaw; Crosby agreed to sign the license.
American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman said that the ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office. She added:
"It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009. The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry. He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it."