DC 'LOVE' Act Allows Marriage Licenses During Shutdown

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on January 10, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

During the federal shutdown, some things endure. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these romantics from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

We aren't lauding the Postal Service. We're talking about love that endures. More specifically, LOVE. The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved the Let Our Vows Endure (LOVE) Act to bypass the marriage shutdown that has occurred since D.C.'s Marriage Bureau was shuttered December 22, since they are considered a "nonessential service." Long live LOVE!

LOVE, American Style

The LOVE Act authorizes the D.C. mayor "to issue marriage licenses and authorize officiants during a period of time when the Clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is not issuing marriage licenses because of a federal government shutdown." Mayor Bowser will sign the bill later this week, upon her return from Las Vegas (another city known for love, though sometimes more fleeting than enduring).

This shutdown has caused many engaged D.C. residents to become border crossers, but not of the southern kind. They are crossing over the D.C. border to Maryland and Virginia to be wed and have marriage licenses issued, so that they can move on with the plans they made long ago that have nothing to do with this shutdown.

Shutdown Has Hit D.C. Hard

The shutdown has caused more problems in D.C. than anywhere else, since many services there are federally funded. Residents there have united to backfill the services placed on hold, including picking up trash around the Mall and helping out at the Department of Employment Services to process unemployment claims as a result of the shutdown.

Unemployment claims in the District exceeded 1,200 as of January 4, two weeks into the shutdown, since federal workers are not guaranteed back pay and government contractors lose their source of income. Tourism has suffered, since many national monuments and museums are closed, including The Smithsonian and the National Zoo. If the shutdown continues, it appears the next services to be hit hard are D.C. food stamps and public housing.

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