Amid US shutdown, LOVE Act comes to couples’ rescue
Washington, January 13
There doesn’t seem to be much love in the air in Washington these days, as a long and bitter government shutdown drags on with no end in sight. But couples whose marriage plans were thwarted by the partial shutdown have gotten a break, thanks to the action of Mayor Muriel Bowser and city council.
The city’s Marriage Bureau, part of the US capital’s federally funded court system, had been deemed “nonessential” and shuttered as part of the thorny standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats.
But on Friday, Bowser signed an emergency measure authorising city officials to validate marriages in the absence of the Marriage Bureau, which closed when the budget standoff began on December 22. “They can shut down the US government, but they cannot shut down love in the District of Columbia,” City Council member Brandon Todd said when he introduced the measure.
Titled the Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Amendment Act, or LOVE Act, the law is valid for 90 days and will spare future brides like Claire O’Rourke from finding themselves in Kafkaesque situations.
“Practically, we couldn’t sign all legal certificates during the shutdown without having a marriage licence,” O’Rourke, a Washingtonian who was preparing to wed fiance Sam Bockenhauer, said. “So we were going to have a wonderful party, of course, but couldn’t be legally married in DC until we got our marriage licence.”