D.C. residents have been unable to get marriage licenses as the Marriage Bureau, which is part of the District’s court system, has been closed because of the partial government shutdown that began on December 22.
When Dan Pollock and Danielle Geanacopoulos went to the Superior Court on December 27 to obtain a marriage license for their wedding scheduled for the 29th, they found out that the Marriage Bureau was closed, according to BuzzFeed News.
Pollock shared a photo of himself and his fiancée smiling outside the courthouse on Twitter, after failing to have their wedding legally recognized. He captioned his tweet with the hashtag #MyBigFakeGreekWedding in reference to the 2002 romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He also took a swipe at President Donald J. Trump for the shutdown.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the #TrumpShutdown. Thanks to you, the DC marriage bureau is furloughed the week of our wedding! Please stay in Iraq. Sincerely, unwed former public servants.#MyBigFakeGreekWedding https://t.co/PSoCif83nx pic.twitter.com/bYbGze7grn
— Dan Pollock (@DSPollock) December 27, 2018
Claire O’Rourke, a 33-year-old Capitol Hill resident, planned to marry on January 12. When she checked the D.C. Superior Court website to get a printout of her marriage license application ahead of the wedding, she found this message on the website: “The Marriage Bureau is closed during the government shutdown.”
“It never occurred to me that this very tiny aspect would shut down right when I needed it the most. It’s a surprising thing to happen in the final few weeks when you’re getting ready for your wedding,” O’Rourke told The Washington Post.
The city can spend its own revenue for running D.C. operations during a federal shutdown which is allowed by Congress. However, the local courts are funded by the federal government. Deemed a “nonessential service”, the Marriage Bureau is closed during the shutdown.
Marriage in D.C. is not legal without a license. The couples can’t benefit from taxes, ownership of properties and hospital visits without a license.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is planning to introduce an emergency bill to allow her office to issue marriage licenses during government shutdown. The D.C. Council is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.