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Same sex marriage announcements in newspapers

July 24, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
The Fargo Forum is apparently in some hot water over its refusal to print a marriage announcement for a same sex couple in Fargo. There is a petition from people who want the paper to reconsider its decision and negative comments on the paper's Facebook page, according to an Associated Press story. Same sex marriage is illegal in North Dakota, as it in all but a handful of states, but other papers in the country run such announcements even in states where gay marriage is not legal.

This is a conservative state but there are certainly gay couples living here, some of them raising children. Institutions adapt in different ways. At least judging by first names, one of the hospitals in the Fargo area does list both halves of a gay couple on its website listing the names of new babies and their parents.

I saw an announcement for a girl born a few years ago who appeared to have two fathers, both with decidedly masculine names, and one a few years later for a boy who apparently has two mothers, both with conventionally feminine names. Legally, the situation is probably a bit more complicated. The girl with two fathers was probably born at the hospital and adopted by at least one of the men at birth. I don't know that the state allows two men to jointly adopt a child, though I could be mistaken. It may depend on the judge or the circumstances. The boy with two mothers was probably conceived and carried by one of the women with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. State law likely allows only one of the women to be on the birth certificate.

But, even though it is complicated, it is perhaps a sign of the times that the hospital apparently recognized a relationship between parents and child that may not be strictly legal. Should newspapers do the same with same sex weddings?


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