A predominantly white church in the US state of Mississippi has refused to let a black couple get married there.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said on Thursday that the incident was “unfortunate” and the state 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 said they were not allowed to marry in July at the small-town First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.

Stan Weatherford, the pastor of the church, married the Wilsons at a predominantly black church nearby.

He said the incident had “tainted” Mississippi’s image nationwide.

The wedding was moved 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 … to see an unfortunate situation like that occur is very disappointing,” Bryant said.