The opportunity for this choice arose from a denial sent to Allison Johnson by The Forum that informed her that the paper does not publish same-sex marriage announcements. Allison wanted to announce her marriage to Kelsey Smith in New York on August 1, 2012 (they both live in Fargo, but same-sex marriage is not legal in North Dakota - yet). Allison posted The Forum’s refusal online and it quickly hit the radar of The Forum’s editor Matthew Von Pinnon, hence the policy is under review.
It is amazing the nooks and crannies where discrimination still openly exists. It is as if the sunlight has never reached them. As such, they go on as they have all along without the benefit of the knowledge and advancements that come with being out and about in the big world where life happens. I think most folks never really think about how far removed the nooks and crannies are from the rest of civilized society until they fall into one and realize that this is the place where prejudice maintains its foothold. It is in the the small places – the places where the injustices such as no wedding announcement might be overlooked…in the places where most folks give up trying to bring sunlight to.
But not Allison Johnson. Allison is bringing a burst of sunlight to the nooks and crannies in North Dakota by calling out The Forum on its outdated policy. Allison challenged the policy and in doing so poured sunlight where it had not been before. Below is the announcement that Allison submitted (presently posted at The People’s Press Project).
MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ALLISON JOHNSON & KELSEY SMITH
It is with happy hearts that we are able to officially announce our marriage to one another.
Allison Johnson & Kelsey Smith will be getting married in New York City on August 1, 2012. A reception for our loving family and friends will be held on August 4, 2012 in Fargo, ND.
Allison Johnson, daughter of Vicki Maurer, Jeff Maurer and Russell Johnson, is from Austin, TX and currently represents Staples Advantage as the Business Sales Consultant for North Dakota. Kelsey Smith, daughter of Bryon & Joni Smith, is a Fargo, ND native and contracts for AllOver Media, located in Maple Grove, MN.
Together, we are so thrilled to be able to have a formal announcement published and look forward to a lifetime of happiness, hopefully reading similar wedding announcements for same-sex couples in our hometown and across the nation.
The Forum has a choice to make. Will it choose to actively discriminate against same-sex couples? If so, then The Forum should carry the tone of that policy - which is essentially a condemnation of same-sex relationships – across all its operations. It should not accept advertisements from those who support same-sex relationships, it should not hire those in same-sex relationships, it should not hold up in a positive light those in same-sex relationships - The Forum should be consistent in its position.
Seems a little ridiculous doesn’t it? The Forum isn’t meant to be the arbitrator of moral rightness or the commentator on lifestyle choices – its duty is to report the international, national, and local news – to include things like birth, death, engagement, anniversary, and wedding announcements. The announcements are a snapshot of the lives of folks in our community – not an endorsement or a commentary – merely a service of the paper to share local good news.
Allison and Kelsey’s wedding is local good news. It’s time for the newspaper to change its antiquated policy. If not, the folks at The Forum should be prepared for one heck of a thunderstorm. Why not just accept the inevitable rainbow that comes with this storm and step into the 21st century of inclusion and tolerance? Deliver the local good news – publish Allison and Kelsey’s wedding announcement.
Day one thousand one hundred and fourteen of the new forty – obla di obla da