DC passes emergency authorization to issue marriage licenses during shutdown

The D.C. Council unanimously passed an emergency bill on Tuesday that makes it possible for couples to get married in the District during the partial government shutdown.

The bill allows the city to issue marriage licenses after BuzzFeed News reported last week that a couple was turned away from D.C.'s marriage bureau because of the shutdown that began on Dec. 22.


The emergency authorization act is called "Let Our Vows Endure," or LOVE, according to a tweet from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

"Love knows no boundaries," Bowser tweeted on Tuesday. "Today, council votes on the LOVE Act, which will allow couples to get a DC marriage license during the #GovernmentShutdown."

"Another reason why 702,000 residents deserve statehood," she added.

The federally funded Marriage Bureau at D.C. Superior Court was deemed "nonessential" and was among the services forced to close down due to the shutdown. Employees at the bureau were among those who were furloughed, BuzzFeed previously reported.

"The inability of District residents, and others choosing to celebrate their marriage in the District, to obtain a marriage license can be highly disruptive to personal levels, particularly where a marriage has been planned to occur in the near future," Bowser said in a letter to the DC Council chairman calling for the emergency act. 

Under the act, after the mayor's office approves a marriage license, it will hand it over to the clerk's office at the courthouse, BuzzFeed reported.

The special process will last for as long as the shutdown or 90 days, but lawmakers are mulling passing a permanent version of the legislation, according to The Washington Post.