It’s a matter of conscience

Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple last week because of his stated concern for the children who might be born of that relationship. Bardwell said it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long:

“I’m not a racist,” Bardwell said. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”

As the Recess Supervisor is wondering, when will conservatives stand up to defend Bardwell’s right to refuse to marry interracial couples:

What Bardwell is suggesting is that he won’t marry interracial couples because his conscience tells him that it’s the wrong thing to do. Furthermore, interracial marriage is no more provably wrong than abortion is provably wrong. And hey, he even directed the couple to another justice of the peace, so it’s not like he was keeping them from getting married. He was simply refusing to provide a marriage license in violation of his personal beliefs.

So how long until honest, intellectually consistent conservatives stand up and defend this guy’s right to refuse marriage licenses to interracial couples? Doesn’t he have a right to honor his conscience too?

I’d be curious to see how many honest, intellectually consistent conservatives defend Keith Bardwell’s decision.


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14 thoughts on “It’s a matter of conscience

  1. He is a justice of the peace and not a parrish court house. He can do this within the authority granted to him by the state. What’s the big deal?

    A JP marries people who already have marriage licenses from the government.

    Much ado about nothing, I think.

  2. It’s only a “much ado about nothing” when it’s not you being discriminated against.

    Zach…I sure hope you won’t call me a conservative for saying this…but I think he does have a personal right to refuse to marry this couple. I don’t agree with his view point…and it might even be actionable (I don’t know)…but he certainly has a personal right to refuse to do something he doesn’t agree with.

    1. There was no discrimination. He refused to marry them. He marries black people and white people. He gave them names of other JPs who would marry them.
      That is not

    1. From the link provided by Mike Licht…

      “It was a location for the TV series based on the film In the Heat of the Night, where a detective was falsely accused of murder because he was black.”

      Not that it really matters much…(except to people like me who loves the movie and the TV series “In the Heat of the Night”)…but the movie/series wasn’t about a detective who was falsely accused of murder because he was black.

      1. I suppose I’m dating myself, but I only vaguely remember “In the Heat of the Night.” Wasn’t Carroll O’Connor in that?

        1. He was in the TV series…you can catch reruns on channel 9 (I think) weekdays at 10am. Carroll O’Connor played Chief Gillespie.

          In the movie Sidney Poitier character is a cop and he does get arrested briefly when he is down south for being black when a murder was committed…but I wouldn’t say that is what the movie is about.

          1. And now that I’m rereading the quote…I suppose it’s true. I thought he was saying that was what the whole movie was about but he really doesn’t say that…I read too much into it.

  3. The race issue is brought out into the mainstream media once ever few weeks.

    It is a ploy to keep us all separated.

    I am an independent constitutionalist from rural Wisconsin. But I have more in common with a poor black kid from Milwaukee than I do with an international billionaire banker.

    Folks, the left, the right, the white, the black……these are all issues used TO KEEP US SEPERATED.

    We are being played all the time. The left and right only give you the illusion that you have a choice.

  4. “The race issue is brought out into the mainstream media once ever few weeks.”

    Don’t you think there is a reason why these things are being reported?? It’s real life…happening in our country everyday. It was not generated by the media…just reported by the media.

  5. Its not “reported” its discussed over and over and over again with countless “personalities” on multiple “news networks” Their “coverage” is just two poeple from both sides of the argument yelling back and forth all day long. After awhile it doesnt become news, it becomes an “issue” (fake).

    This is a local matter, and should have been taken up locally. He broke the law, and should be punished. Its not a national “issue”

    Its all part of the script. Dig deeper.

  6. So, it comes down to this: does a person have a legal obligation to do one’s job, even if it goes against his principles? Does a pharmacist have to provide morning-after pills if she considers this to be “abortion” and is against it? Does a nurse have to provide blood services if he believes that blood is sacred?

    The better question might be: why are these people doing jobs that clearly will go against their principles? Perhaps the very act of taking a job means acceptance of the terms of that job. I’m not suggesting it’s okay for, say, a civil engineer to go along with under-designing a bridge. That is clearly an ethical violation that would not be considered as standard practice by the engineer’s peers. But, if your job is to marry people, it only stands to reason that some of those people will be of mixed races, religions, shapes, sizes, income levels, or movie tastes.

    This is a murky legal issue, and while I am saddened that people are still discriminated against based on circumstances of birth, and I feel like the JP *should* marry anyone who wants to be married, I can’t automatically agree that he had a legal obligation to do so. Help me out.

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