US church refuses to marry black couple
Washington: A black couple in the US would never have imagined that their colour would come in the way of their marriage.
The couple's dream of exchanging vows at a church they had been attending in Mississippi was dashed when they were turned away by the predominately-white church due to their skin colour, US media reports said.
The pastor of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, cancelled Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson's planned wedding one day before the ceremony, arguing that the church had never hosted black couples since it was opened in 1883.
According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship, ABC's affiliate WAPT-TV reported.
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson said it was devastating having to move their wedding to another church only days before the July 21 wedding.
"My 9-year-old was going to the church with us. How would you say to your 9-year-old daughter, 'We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we're black,'" Charles Wilson told WAPT-TV.
While the Wilsons were not members of the church, they often attended services there, and Te'Andrea's uncle is an employee of the church, and her father is a member. Charles Wilson told WAPT that the couple had planned to join as members after their wedding, which was planned for July 20.
Weatherford said that he would have liked to marry the couple as planned, but he decided to perform the ceremony elsewhere as a compromise to ensure that the Wilsons could be married while "addressing a need within our congregation."
"The church is now holding internal meetings to figure out how it should respond to future requests by black couples to be married there", the report quoted Weatherford as saying.
Weatherford performed the wedding for the Wilsons at another church.