Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Justice of the Peace Won't Marry Interracial Couples

So I recently read an article about a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who recuses himself on cases of interracial marriage. Justice Keith Bardwell says he upholds the law of not denying or preventing marriage, but out of his principals recuses himself and refers couples to other justices. He says that he won't marry interracial couples because of their future children. He feels that "the blacks and the whites didn't accept the children. And I don't want to put the children in that situation."

Okay...several things come to mind about this issue. The first being, how does Bardwell know that these couples are interested in having children? Some of these couples may already have children out of previous relationships or already have children together. He shouldn't guess.

Secondly, how can he truly determine the races of these people? Many people are bi-racial or were raised by people not of the same race? Case in point: I went to college with a white gentlemen. His biological father was never in the picture. So his mother ended up marrying a black gentlemen. My college mate's step father raised him. His step father was very involved in his life even in college, and referred to my college mate as his son. It was obvious that he was not his biological father but for all intensive purposes his step dad was his dad.

Thirdly, how can the judge decide what other people think about the couple's children? Maybe there is some truth to not being accepted, but he can't possibly decide what will happen to the children around people who matter. Perhaps both families are open minded and the couple has open minded or interracial friends.

And lastly, why can't the couple decide for themselves? If Louisiana law is similar to Mississippi law, you have to be 18 to get a marriage licence. You have to pay a fee, submit id, and take a blood test (which is an archaic way of making sure you're not related). It's not like you just walk up there and say "Hey marry us." People have to give it some thought.

It seems appalling that this judge has taken it upon himself to "protect" potential children. It isn't his right. It's not what he was elected to do. He is stripping the rights of the couple. And in this day and age, he is promoting racism. Instead he should be trying to make life easier for biracial children if he feels that they aren't being accepted.

But anyway...I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

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