Commentary: Interracial marriage doesn't harm children

The Lexington Herald-LeaderOctober 22, 2009 

It has been a while since I last heard anyone use the future welfare of the progeny of mixed-race couples as an excuse to prohibit or block those couples' marriages.

In fact, I thought having parents from different cultures or races had been proven to be no more an indicator of a child's success or failure than if those parents were Democrats or Republicans.

But apparently, Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, La., knows something I don't know.

Bardwell refused to marry Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay because she is white and he is black. And Bardwell hasn't changed his mind despite an avalanche of protests or having a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against him.

Bardwell told a reporter for the Daily Star in Hammond, La., that "99 percent of the time," the interracial couple consists of a black man and white woman. "I find that rather confusing," he said.

After discussions with black and white people, he concluded that biracial children are not accepted by blacks or whites and that the marriages fail, leaving the rearing of the biracial children to grandparents.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," he told the newspaper.

Bardwell, 56, said that if he married one interracial couple, he'd have to do it for all. "I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

Good grief.

Bardwell and I are close in age. We came from the same era, a time in which blatant racism was backed by the force of law.

But I watched those laws fall and fade, one by one, until it became widely understood that public entities could not discriminate, and it became illegal for them to try to.

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