Bryant said Mississippi should encourage the union of any couple – as long as the couple is made up of a man and a woman.
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson had planned a marriage July 21 at the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, a small town south of Jackson, but some members objected after the couple’s rehearsal.
The Rev. Stan Weatherford, pastor of the church, married the Wilsons at a predominantly black church nearby after some congregants at First Baptist told Weatherford they opposed allowing black people to marry in the church.
“As hard as we work to try to convince the rest of the world that Mississippi has changed – and, in fact, we have – to see an unfortunate situation like that occur is very disappointing,” Bryant said in response to questions from The Associated Press.
The church posted an apology on its website Sunday, saying it was seeking “forgiveness and reconciliation” with Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, their family and friends and God. The couple didn’t know about it, however, until reporters called.
Charles Wilson said no one from the church had contacted him or his wife with the news and that he considered that an insult.
Bryant, who is Methodist, has campaigned throughout his career as a conservative who opposes same-sex marriage and abortions.
Bryant said the denial of a wedding for a black couple at a traditionally white church has “tainted” Mississippi’s image nationwide.
“I’m sure there are very good people of Crystal Springs and in that Baptist church that don’t feel that way and are supporting that effort,” Bryant said of the Wilsons’ desire to marry in the church.