Photograph by Bill Colgin/Getty Images.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant wants the world to know that anyone who wants to get married in his state can. Well, not everyone, but we'll get to that in a bit.
The Republican governor's comments came in response to a recent decision by a predominantly white church in his state to refuse to allow a black couple to wed in its sanctuary. Bryant on Thursday called that decision "unfortunate" and "disappointing," and said that it would likely taint the state's image in the eyes of others.
The incident in question occurred on July 20 when Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson were told the day before their wedding that they needed to find another venue because congregants were uncomfortable with a black ceremony.
ABC News reports that Southern Baptist leaders and officials at the Mississippi Baptist Convention chastised the church last month for the move and discouraged such blatant racism. The church, meanwhile, responded in a statement read to the congregation claiming a commitment to equal treatment.
"Look, when people want to get married, we ought to let them get married," Bryant said in response to questions from the AP and others. "We have enough people that won't go and get married. I want to make every opportunity I can for any couple that wants to, to go get married."
Which brings us back to that word every. After being asked the rather obvious follow-up, the Republican governor and longtime opponent of gay marriage didn't waste any time making it clear exactly how far his pro-marriage stance spreads. "Let me make sure, let's get that right," he said. "When I say couples, I automatically assume it's a man and a woman."