Marriage license denial sparks outrage

Oct. 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

HAMMOND, La., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Louisiana's governor and other top officials called for the ouster of a justice of the peace who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.

"This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law," Gov. Bobby Jindal said Friday. "Disciplinary action should be taken immediately, including the revoking of his license."

Jindal called on the state judiciary committee to look into why Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused to issue the marriage license to Hammond residents Beth Humphrey and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, CNN reported. Humphey, 30, is white, and McKay, 32, is black.

U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La, said the judiciary committee should "use its authority to have Justice Bardwell dismissed from his position."

"Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long," she said.

Bardwell has not returned CNN's calls, the network said Friday evening.

Patricia Morris, who heads the NAACP in Tangipahoa Parish, says marrying people is one of the duties a justice of the peace is elected to perform and "if he doesn't do it" he should step down.

Humphrey says she was shocked when the justice of the peace refused to issue the license Oct. 6.

Humphrey and McKay obtained a license from another justice and are in the process of consulting an attorney, CNN says.

Morris says her chapter has forwarded the case to the state and national NAACP.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories