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 lesbian couples.

The Fargo-based paper faced a storm of criticism after it refused to publish the couple's wedding announcement.

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 right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

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 commitment ceremonies.”

According to Von Pinnon, more than 600 people contacted The Forum about the issue.

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.”