Louisiana Justice of the Peace Refuses to Issue Marriage License for Interracial Couple:

I saw an AP story about this, but tracked down what seems to be a more complete local story (perhaps one on which the AP story was based). A snippet:

[Justice of the Peace Keith] Bardwell said he came to the conclusion that most black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society.

“Yet, the children are innocent. They had nothing to do with that,” he said.

In many cases, he said, the grandparents or a relative ends up with the children.

“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

He said if he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Yes, equality, that’s what it’s all about.

I should note that, as a practical matter, this isn’t much of a burden on the couples, since they can easily find a different Justice of the Peace to issue the license. (Apparently Bardwell’s wife, whom the couple had called about the license, even referred them to another Justice of the Peace.) But a Justice of the Peace who’s performing a governmental function should perform it without discrimination based on race — or religion or political ideology or some other constitutionally forbidden category — even if such discrimination wouldn’t create much of a practical burden on anyone. (It may well be that under Louisiana law Justices of the Peace must issue marriage licenses to all comers, in which case Bardwell’s action is doubly bad; but the federal constitutional objection would be to the race discrimination.)