Thursday, November 05, 2009

A little justice, afterall

I was glad to see that the Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, from Louisiana who had refused to marry an interracial couple several weeks ago has now resigned his office.

While I felt that the appropriate action was for him to be removed from his official duties by the proper Louisiana authorities, in the end what mattered most was for Mr. Bardwell to no longer have a position of governmental power.

There is no place in an egalitarian society for those who allow bigoted views to interfere with their ability to carry out their official responsibilities to the public. A Justice of the Peace, for instance, doesn’t have to agree with interracial marriage but he must offer interracial couples the same equal protection of the laws that he would for non-interracial couples.

Whether it is at the national, the state or even local level, it is critical that government officials are held accountable and removed from positions of authority when they violate the constitutional rights of the citizenry. This is fundamental to maintaining both law & order as well as egalitarianism.

Though I accept this outcome as adequate, it does make me wonder if, had Mr. Bardwell not resigned, would state and local officials have done anything to remove him? It appears as though they would have let him continue on as before, though Gov. Bobby Jindal did call on him to resign. To me, for Mr. Bardwell to continue as Justice of the Peace after having violated the rights of admittedly 4 interracial couples, would have been completely unacceptable.

I'm glad that Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay were able to get married and I'm glad that this man will no longer be denying marriage to couples on the basis of their race, but it's sad that today same-sex couples all across this country cannot legally get married (except in 4 states). And after the election in Maine the other day, none will be had anytime soon in that state.

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