Fargo Forum reverses course, decides to publish gay marriage notices after backlash
|Johnson (right) and her fiancee Kelsey Smith are getting married tomorrow in NYC.|
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The Fargo Forum's management probably had no idea what they were in for when they sent an email to Allison Johnson on July 23 informing her that "At this time The Forum does not print engagement/wedding announcements for same sex couples."
Hundreds of negative Facebook comments and thousands of petition signatures later, Matthew Von Pinnon, editor of The Forum, announced on Sunday that his paper is reversing course and will now publish notices for all legally recognized marriages.
Johnson, 31, and her fiancee, Kelsey Smith, 27, live in Fargo but plan to be married tomorrow in New York City. In 2004, North Dakota passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but woman-woman love is legally recognized in New York and five other states, along with D.C.
"It was such a simple idea," Johnson told The Huffington Post. "[The announcement] was for Kelsey's family, that is all over the state. They all get the newspaper. They love us and support us and we wanted to be able to announce to them so they could they could see it and be proud."
The Forum had apparently never been asked to publish a same-sex marriage announcement before being contacted by Johnson. Forum Communications owns several notable Minnesota newspapers, including the Duluth News Tribune and the Bemidji Pioneer, but apparently didn't impose the no-sex-sex-marriage-announcement policy on papers outside Fargo -- according to MinnPost, the Duluth News Tribune publishes gay marriage announcements.
After feeling blowback for several days, Von Pinnon published a statement on Sunday informing readers that "Starting today, The Forum will accept for publication the announcements of gay marriages, engagements and anniversaries if the marriage takes place in a state or country where it's legally recognized."