Can’t Shut Down Love: Couples Can Now Get Married in DC During Partial Government Shutdown

The LOVE Act allows the mayor's office to issue marriage licences and authorize officiants

Couples in D.C. can now get married during the government shutdown even though the federal court typically charged with issuing licenses is closed.

Mayor Muriel Bowser signed on Friday the LOVE Act — titled in full the "Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019" — that delegates marriage paperwork to the District Secretary's office.

The Secretary of the District of Columbia is temporarily permitted to take on marriage-related duties, including issuing and certifying marriage licenses, authorizing officiants and transmitting copies of true licenses. 

"Washington, D.C. is more than the federal government —we are a diverse, inclusive city, more than 700,000 residents strong. This shutdown is senseless," Bowser said in a written statement.

The D.C. Council previously unanimously passed the emergency legislation on Tuesday that allows Mayor Muriel Bowser to issue marriage licenses during the partial government shutdown.

It will last for 90 days, though some council members said they'd like the authority to be permanent. Congress allows the District to maintain city operations during a federal shutdown, but local courts are federally funded.

The city court office that issues marriage licenses was deemed nonessential and suspended when a portion of the federal government shut down last month over funding for President Donald Trump's promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

At least one couple had to hold their wedding without getting legally married.

Dan Pollock and Danielle Geanacopoulos were turned away from getting their marriage license two weeks ago due to the shutdown.

"This is a disaster, and we want to get the government open as soon as possible," Pollock said last week.

Bowser's office then released a statement about marriage licenses during the government shutdown, saying, "Mayor Bowser will put forth emergency legislation to establish the authority to issue marriage licenses during a shutdown. Just like the Grinch can’t steal Christmas, the shutdown can't stop love."

The Mayor's office said couples can obtain license applications, officiant authorizations and certifications through the Office of the Secretary, Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances at 441 4th Street, NW (Suite 520 South) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The Secretary of State's website has more information; You can also email osmarriage@dc.gov or call 202-727-5090.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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