A local newspaper in Fargo, North Dakota is under attack after refusing to print a same-sex couple’s wedding announcement. Kelsey Smith and Allison Johnson, who live in Fargo but are getting married in New York City, submitted their announcement to the paper last Friday, but yesterday received an email stating, “I’m sorry, but at this time The Forum does not accept same-sex wedding announcements.” The couple took to social media and launched a Change.org petition, which currently has over 1300 signatures.
The newspaper, inForum.com, also known as the Fargo Forum, was swamped with comments on its Facebook page, and ultimately ran a story about the issue, promising to “review” its policy:
The newspaper received multiple negative comments on its official Facebook page and an online petition was started after it refused to print a Fargo couple’s same-sex wedding announcement.
The two – Kelsey Smith, 27, of Fargo, and Allison Johnson, 31, of Austin, Texas – live in Fargo but are to be married Aug. 1 in New York City.
Johnson said she submitted the request to the paper early Saturday for the wedding notification to be printed next Sunday, but she received an email Monday morning that told her The Forum does not print engagement or wedding announcements for same-sex couples.
“I think the simple idea that we’re not able to announce our celebration is just, in my opinion, hurtful,” Johnson told The Forum late Monday evening. “I felt like we were treated unfairly.”
In an official response, Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon said the rule is under review.
“The Forum is reviewing its policy about publishing same-sex announcements,” Von Pinnon said. “This is the second such request in recent months. We will communicate a decision once it’s made.”
Johnson snapped a photo of the email and posted it online. She also wrote an open letter criticizing the policy and sent a copy to the mayor’s office and to the newspaper’s Opinion editor.
The situation has created a storm of negative comments on the paper’s official Facebook page, and spawned an online petition on the website Change.org calling for the newspaper to allow same-sex announcements to be printed.
The petition had more than 800 signatures by 11 p.m. on Monday.
The final line of the Forum’s story reads:
“Marriage in North Dakota is explicitly defined as “between one man and one woman,” according to the state’s Century Code.”
The Forum’s Facebook page promises a response today.
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