Thursday, October 15, 2009

Louisiana Justice Denies Interracial Marriage

A justice of the peace in Louisiana will not marry interracial couples because "I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves. In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

So, so wrong.

Louisiana has given us more racial weirdness than any other state. Plessy v. Ferguson became a federal issue when Louisiana's counting of racial fractions pitted the "black" railroad car against the "quadroon" Homer Plessy. Louisiana law still recognizes racial fractions down to 1/32nd, though they are mostly dead letter. Mostly, but, as we see, not quite.

I hope this one can be laughed out of practice, and Justice Keith Bardwell can be shamed out of office.

14 comments:

Michael Bush said...

He thinks saying "in my heart" makes it all okay.

( "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere.")

prowarc said...

Don't count on him being shamed out of office. Remember Bill Clinton and Senator Kennedy. And look at Charlie Rangel now. The list goes on and on and not just in Louisiana.Your point is well taken, no need to slam a whole state. Stupid is not regional.

edwin sanchez said...

There is no need to back track on this country's racist past...we are having trouble with marrying the gays nowadays...lets stay focused.

William said...

I wonder if he's considered that it would be better to be the children of a married interracial couple than the children of an unwed married couple. I somehow don't think his analysis went that deep.

I'm sure lots of people share his concerns about the children (if that's really his concern). The shocking part is that he is so open about it.

gesi said...

Leaving aside the judge's judgement. I'm curious, are there statistics available on divorce rates of biracial couples? Was he insensitive but correct?

MarkieCMarkieDo said...

Reminds me of a discussion about interracial marriage I had with my father-in-law some 20+ years ago when son Lee was 2. Father-in-law (the south Georgia pastor) announced his conviction, from years of observation, that interracial marriage is devastating to families. After some discussion, he dropped the trump card: "How would YOU feel if HE (pointing to 2-year-old) married 'one'". I replied that it wouldn't bother me a bit, especially if he married someone like my friend Maryanne. I'd be thrilled.

That shut the conversation down, and I'll bet he was regretting the crazy liberal "one" from his race that his own son had brought into the family!

Bessie said...

Remember Jesse Jackson's Hymie town comment? He even said he wanted to cut off our leader's n*ts and to top it off called him the N word. When will we learn?

Brendan said...

"'I'm not a racist,' Bardwell told the Associated Press, 'I just don't believe in mixing the races that way.'"

It's sort of amazing that the label of "racist" has gotten such a bad rap that even actual racists spurn it. Bardwell is a semiotic wonder.

gesi: Read the article again. Bardwell's concern wasn't that the marriage would end in divorce, but that "both groups" would refuse to accept the children.

halifax said...

Actually, Louisiana's practice of the old 'one-drop' rule has become commonplace in the US. Mr. Obama is widely known to be the first black president after all, not the first racially mixed/biracial president (I believe that the term mulatto is now viewed as pejorative). Affirmative action programs also rely on the 'one-drop' rule in classifying one's ethnic/racial background. So, should we blame Louisiana for Obama being a 'black' president?

chris brown said...

I think he should have his license taken away and the couple should go elsewhere to get married instead of being in that bootleg town.

gesi said...

Sorry Brendan. My bad.

randy said...

it seems to me that if one is of mixed-race parentage, one will, in general, for most practical purposes, be taken as Black, White, Asian or Latino largely based on HOW YOU LOOK; so...

bob marley; black (white dad, black mom)

barack obama; black (black dad, white mom)

tiger woods; black (black dad, asian mom)

mariah carey; white (black dad, white mom)

Andee said...

Is there a law that says a Justice of the Peace is required to marry any couple that wants to get married? I'm being a little sarcastic, but mostly serious--I truly don't know if such a law exists. I think that if a Justice of the Peace or judge or clergy person feels an objection to a couple being married, he/she has a right to say, "No, I will not marry this couple."

That said, I personally am not against interracial marriage. In fact I think people who are racially intermarried exercise the truest non-racist lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Andee, it is unconstitutional for the state to refuse people the right to marry because of their race. Judges are state actors. Could a judge refuse to marry someone because they were intoxicated or otherwise incompetent, or even just because the judge didn't have time? Sure. But not because of race.

http://newsinfo.iu.edu/tips/page/normal/12249.html

See: Loving v. Virginia