- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time to pull out the wedding bells: Bristol Palin plans to marry Levi Johnston, the father of her son, Tripp, in Alaska within the next six weeks.

The couple first told of their engagement in Us Weekly in an article published Wednesday. Miss Palin, the 19-year-old daughter of 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, told the magazine that Mr. Johnston, 20, proposed two weeks ago.

Mrs. Palin and husband Todd were in the dark about their daughter’s secret engagement until the news broke. Miss Palin said in the article that she didn’t know how her mom would react.

“Bristol, at 19, is now a young adult,” Mr. and Mrs. Palin said in a statement Wednesday morning. “We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put into practice in our daily lives.”

The engagement comes as a sudden turn of events for the Palins, who reportedly were fighting with Mr. Johnston over child support.

Mr. Johnston and Miss Palin began dating when she was a freshman at Juneau-Douglas High School in Alaska in 2005. The couple broke up shortly after the birth of their son in 2008 after Mr. Johnston bashed his girlfriend’s mother about her alleged efforts to adopt Tripp and her alleged parenting failures. Mr. Johnston since has apologized for his remarks. News of Miss Palin’s pregnancy caused a scandal when they came to light during the week her mother accepted the slot on the Republican ticket alongside Sen. John McCain.

Since the birth of her child, Bristol Palin has become a paid speaker advocating abstinence. Although Miss Palin’s fees aren’t listed on the website of Single Source Speakers, the Christian agency that employs her, news sources have reported that she commands between $15,000 and $30,000 an appearance.

Calls to Single Source Speakers and to SarahPAC, Mrs. Palin’s organization, were not immediately returned. Calls to the Palin family residence in Wasilla, Alaska, rang without answer. 

Miss Palin is working on her first book in addition to working toward a business degree at a community college. She recently appeared on “Secret Life of the American Teenager.”