LA Judge Refuses to Marry Interracial Couple

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A Louisiana justice of the peace's decision to refuse to marry interracial couples is being met with national outrage.

Judge Keith Bardwell said he believes interracial marriages are morally wrong, but doesn't consider himself a racist.

One week ago, he refused to marry Beth Humphrey (McKay) and her fiance Terence McKay because she is white and he is black.

"He said, 'We don't do interracial marriages,' and I was so stunned, I didn't know what to say," she recalled.

McKay said it is disheartening that in 2009 there are still issues of racism.

Bardwell said he does not believe in marrying interracial couples because he thinks their children will suffer.

"No one's ever complained about it before," Bardwell said Thursday. "I do it to protect the children. The kids are innocent and I worry about their futures."

Humphrey disagrees.

"I know a lot of interracial couples and they're fully supported," Humphrey said. "My family and his family have no problems with it like a normal good family."

Bardwell said before he marries a couple, he asks if they are both of the same race. If they are not, he doesn't marry them.

He added that he has black friends and marries black couples.

The American Civil Liberties Union has called for an investigation of the judge.

"We were horrified that an officer of the judicial system would take a position that was so blatantly contrary to the law of the land in this country and so hateful and racist," said Marjorie Esman of the ACLU.

The couple has since traveled to a nearby city and were married by another justice of the peace.

The ACLU is recommending the most severe sanctions available be filed against Bardwell.

An NAACP spokesperson in Louisiana is also calling for the judge to resign.

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