The Forum newspaper of North Dakota has
agreed to publish the wedding notice of Allison Johnson and Kelsey
Smith and alter its policy on marriage announcements for gay and
The Fargo-based paper faced a storm of
criticism after it refused to publish the couple's wedding
On Sunday, Editor Matt Von Pinnon said
the paper was changing its policy.
“Starting today, The Forum will
accept for publication the announcement of gay marriages, engagements
and anniversaries if the marriage takes place in a state or country
where it's legally recognized,” Von Pinnon wrote.
Smith, 27, and Johnson, 31, plan to
marry in New York, where such
unions became legal last year.
Von Pinnon said the paper previously
based its policies on laws in Minnesota and North Dakota, which do
not recognize gay nuptials.
“The policy that we have is based on
the laws of Minnesota, North Dakota. We've used those kind of as
guiding principles, if you will, for what we allow in announcements
and what we don't. The thinking I think was that if state laws
changed, that we would change with those,” Von Pinnon explained to
the women during a July 24 meeting. (The video is embedded in the
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The paper's change of heart, however,
does not extend to other forms of recognition, such as civil unions
and domestic partnerships.
“We will not publish announcements
for non-legally recognized marriages, such as civil unions and
to Von Pinnon, more than 600 people contacted The Forum about the
Von Pinnon said the “policy review
came down to one thing: We inform the public, plain and simple.
Except for what's found on the Opinion page, we don't choose
sides. We report on many, many things that we neither endorse nor
condemn. That's the nature of news. Some people would like us to
deny that gay marriage is legally recognized in several states and
countries. To not recognize that fact is to deny or distort the
truth, something we're not willing to do.”