Saying that such unions “don’t last long” and that he was worried about their potential children, yesterday Tangipahoa Parish Judge Keith Bardwell denied a marriage license to an interracial couple.
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” 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.” If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said. “I try to treat everyone equally,” he said. Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.
The couple plans to files a discrimination complaint with the Justice Department.