Today, I was directed toward an article in the Hammond, Louisiana Daily Star about a justice of the peace who refuses to marry interracial couples (emph. mine):
A justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple last week because of concern for the children who might be born of that relationship.
Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, also said it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.
I guess, as they say, anecdote doesn’t equal data. I speak as someone with two adult cousins produced out of an interracial marriage, and yes, their parents are still together.
But this article isn’t about what might happen in an interracial marriage. It’s about the decision of the Keith Bardwell, and for the sake of argument, I’ll take the unpopular position and say, “Why not?”
Besides the fact that it’s Louisiana state law that interracial couples cannot be denied a marriage, or “it’s wrong,” can someone actually give me a well thought-out reason as to why Bardwell must marry interracial couples? He seems to make a good point, doesn’t he? He believes children will be better off in a single-race relationship. After all, he says himself that he marries black couples. So, I’ll take him at his word that he’s not racist, even if a little old fashioned.
What I’m getting at, of course, is the relation of Bardwell’s argument to that of opponents of gay marriage. Think about it. Isn’t it conceivable that if Louisiana were to pass a law allowing gay marriage that people like JOTP Bardwell would possibly be granted an exemption based on religious belief? His arguments about the best situation for children are nearly identical to those used by gay marriage opponents. If a person can believe that a gay couple is the wrong match for raising a child, how is this different from believing that an interracial couple is also incompatible with proper parenting?
If we have to accept the argument that gay parents would be bad parents, why also not the argument that interracial parents would be bad parents? I think that if we allow marriage officials to deny their services to gay couples, we must also do this for interracial couples, as well as white couples. A JOTP or clergyman might determine that any of these pairings is incompatible for parenting, so it only seems fair in the eye of the law to make exemptions for all types of marriages. To do so otherwise would be discrimination against marriage officials.
Am I right, or am I wrong?