Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) are now calling on their state's judicial review board to oust a judge who refused earlier this month to perform an interracial marriage.
Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in local Tangipahoa Parish, has captured headlines -- and national attention -- after refusing to marry local residents Beth Humhprey and Terence McKay out of "concern... for the children," he explained in a recent interview.
"I'm not a racist," Bardwell stressed last week. "I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house."
The judge's defense, however, has hardly swayed some of his state's top lawmakers, who are enraged by his decision. On Friday, both Jindal and Landrieu separately called for an investigation into the judge's conduct -- and asked for his prompt removal from the bench.
The governor in his statement charged the judge's action was discriminatory and said it constituted a "violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law."
“Disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” Jindal added.
Landrieu concurred with the governor. “Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” she explained.
The Louisiana Judiciary Committee, however, has not indicated whether it will in any way sanction Bardwell for his conduct. Investigations are confidential until the panel recommends action to the state's Supreme Court, its spokesperson told the Shreveport Times.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration too has signaled its dissatisfaction with the incident. Although press spokesman Bill Burton would not say on Friday whether the president agrees with the heightened calls for Bardwell's ouster, he did note: “I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good.”