Couples planning weddings in Washington, D.C. have one less thing to worry about. The government shutdown, now the longest in our nation’s history, has been bad news for many Americans. One group affected has been couples in D.C. who have been unable to get their marriages licenses, throwing their wedding plans into chaos.
Those couples got good news when D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill that will allow her to grant marriage licenses and authorize officiants for 90 days.
"We are stepping in where federal courts have discontinued issuing marriage licenses," Bowser said as she signed the The Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019, or LOVE Act.
Most Americans had no trouble obtaining their marriage licenses since those matters are handled at the state level by county clerk offices. In D.C. however, the Marriage Bureau is part of the federally funded D.C. Superior Court. The Bureau was deemed nonessential and temporary closed with the shutdown.
Couples that showed up at the Bureau found a closed office with red sign that said, “The Committee on Admissions, Marriage Bureau, Library, and Child Care Center are closed during the government shutdown.”
After hearing from her constituents, Mayor Bowser drafted legislation for the LOVE Act. It received an unanimous vote from the D.C. City Council and marriages in D.C. were back!
At the signing, Mayor Bowser was surrounded by couples whose marriages would have been interrupted were it not for the LOVE Act. There were also couples that went through with the ceremony but had to hold off on the license.
"Today once again we call on the president to get the federal government open, we call on all Americans to join us in our fight for D.C. statehood, and last but not least, we congratulate all the couples who are here with us today, all of those who are out in the city," Bowser said.
While Couples are able to apply for their marriage licences, new ministers may face dificulty registering with the DC Marriage Bureau, which remains shuttered along with may other federally funded agencies.
As of December 19, 2019, no further details were available, with DC Marriage bureau staff not available to answer inquiries. American Weddings will continue to monitor the situation and keep our ministers updated. For up to the minute details, the court's phone number is (202) 879-1212.