Lawsuit dropped against controversial ex-justice of the peace

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Posted: Nov 9, 2010 5:35 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Nov 9, 2010 5:35 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Keith Bardwell, ex-justice of the peace, Tangipahoa Parish, Terence McKay, Baton Rouge, WBRZ

TANGIPAHOA PARISH - A lawsuit filed against a controversial former justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish who refused to marry an interracial couple has been dropped.

Ex-Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell received national scrutiny after he refused to marry a white woman and a black man last year. It's a story that national media outlets picked up and even had Governor Jindal calling for his resignation.

The man Bardwell refused to marry, Terence McKay, told News 2 he withdrew the lawsuit from federal court in New Orleans, which cited civil rights violations.

"It was never about money," said McKay. "It was never about any other issue than getting this gentleman out of office."

Last year, Bardwell explained to News 2 why he made the decision not to marry McKay and his now wife, Beth.

"The only reason I don't marry mixed race marriages is because of what could come of the children," said Bardwell.

According to Bardwell, at that time, he and his wife alerted the McKays of another justice who would marry them, and the couple wed less than 72 hours later.

In a written statement to News 2 about the dismissal of the lawsuit, Bardwell said, "There was no settlement of any type, simply a dismissal of the claims at the request of plaintiff's counsel."

Bardwell said over the phone that the past year has been trying for his family. He said he never meant for his comments to hurt the McKays.

Because the lawsuit was dismissed from federal court, future claims cannot be lodged against the Bardwells again.

Photo Courtesy: AP

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