DC Couple Denied Marriage License Because of Government Shutdown

The court is funded by Congress, and the marriage bureau is not essential, meaning it had to close

Danielle Geanacopoulos and Dan Pollock
Danielle Geanacopoulos and Dan Pollock

A D.C. couple is starting the New Year on their honeymoon, though technically they still aren’t married.

Dan Pollock and Danielle Geanacopoulos had their wedding a few days ago, but they did so without a marriage license.

The couple was turned away from getting a marriage license at D.C. Superior Court last week because of the federal government shutdown.

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“We showed up and asked, 'Which way to the marriage bureau?' And the guy said, ‘You’re not going anywhere,’” Pollock said. “So we asked some more questions — it turns out no one is getting a marriage license during the shutdown.”

The court is funded by Congress, and the marriage bureau is not essential, meaning it had to close. Family court remains open, so those seeking divorce can proceed.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office 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."

“This is a disaster, and we want to get the government open as soon as possible,” Pollock said.

Pollock and Geanacopoulos realize they’re not in an emergency situation, but it would be nice to have a marriage license.

They’ll stop by the courthouse when the shutdown ends.

“And then we’ll gather whoever is in town and go celebrate,” Pollock said.

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