By Evelyn Ticona
Dear Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell:
Please check your calendar carefully; it’s 2009 not 1909. Also, please refer to your American history classes in high school and college. At some point, they must have addressed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding equal treatment of every American regardless of race.
It’s been 42 years since the U.S. Supreme Court brought down the Virginia statute impeding whites from marrying people of a different ethnic group when Mildred Jeter (African American) and Richard Loving (Caucasian) were banned from getting married.
In fact, the Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court, Julian Dufreche, does not support your decision either. The court’s official Web site recently posted the following: “There are seven Justices of the Peace in Tangipahoa Parish. All are elected officials that do not work for the clerk of court in any capacity. Their views and beliefs do not reflect the views and beliefs of our office in any way.”
At least we know there are six other judges that strongly disagree with you, or if they actually agree, they definitely do not back you up in public because they are smarter and know that such a display of archaic ideals could cost them their job.
In an interview given last Wednesday to a CBS morning show, you said “I recused myself of performing the ceremony. A judge is legally — can recuse himself of hearing a case or marrying people.”
You also tried to justify your actions saying that you have witnessed “countless” people claiming that the families do not accept the biracial children, and you did not want to put a hypothetical child in that position.
First of all, in case you didn’t know (and not to imply that it is any of your business), Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay, the couple you refused to marry, have stated publicly they do not want to have children.
Second, I don’t understand what position you’re talking about.
We live in the most multicultural country in the world, where we have the privilege of interacting with people from diverse cultures and ethnicities.
Though I must admit that there are still people who don’t accept the fact that we are more “global citizens” than citizens from a certain country, I do believe that this will eventually change.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that disciplinary action should include revoking your license.
Though you said you don’t have a license because you’re an elected official, there must be some kind of action that can be applied in this case. I’m sure that, once the voters of your state are tired of being mocked for the lack of intelligence and openmindedness shown by their elected officials, you’ll be ridden out on a rail.
Humphrey and McKay decided to file a lawsuit against you last Tuesday alleging you violated their civil rights.
I sincerely hope they win, and I’m confident they will.
Also, please don’t miss the obvious, Mr. Bardwell. The maximum authority in the U.S. is biracial.
I’m pretty sure you know by now President Obama’s father is from Kenya and that he was raised by a Caucasian mother and Asian stepfather.
That’s a lot of diversity and variety of ethnicities right there.
The list of children from interracial couples is endless, especially now when diversity is growing so fast.
Just take a look at the many celebrities of different cultures making their mark: Tyra Banks, Salma Hayek, Rashida Jones, Halle Berry, Congressman Harold Ford Jr., New Jersey Mayor Cory Brooker, politician Linda Chavez and the list can go on and on.
I guess you disagree with the famous Beatles’ song, “All You Need Is Love,” because in your courthouse the colors of our skin have to match as well.