A Louisiana justice of the peace is in hot water after declining to perform a civil wedding for an interracial couple and referring the couple to a colleague.
While I totally disagree with Keith Bardwell's refusal, I'm leery of the government forcing justices of the peace to perform weddings to which they object & not allowing them to refer the couples to a colleague. What if the situation were not an interracial couple but a homosexual one? Should the government force a Christian justice of the peace to officiate against his/her deeply held religious beliefs? At least 11 justices in Massachusetts resigned after that state legalized homosexual marriage and then-Governor Mitt Romney told justices they could not refuse to perform them.
What's so wrong about allowing a justice to say, "sorry, I can't help you but you can go to my colleague so-and-so"? The inconvenience of the couple having to go elsewhere should not outweigh the conscience right of the justice of the peace.
Do I think Keith Bardwell is flat-out wrong in his stance on interracial marriage? Absolutely. But he and other justices of the peace should have the right to refuse to marry a couple for whatever reason so long as another justice can be found to perform the marriage. Otherwise, Christian justices may very well have to choose between keeping their job and following their religion.