Couples can’t get marriage licenses in D.C. during federal shutdown

Even though Congress allows the city to spend its own revenue to maintain D.C. operations during a federal shutdown, the local courts are funded by the federal government.

And while court hearings are proceeding and juries are being seated, the Marriage Bureau is considered a nonessential function and has been suspended, along with bar admissions, the judicial library and a child-care center.

Claire O’Rourke, 33, learned the hard way when she went on the D.C. Superior Court website Wednesday to print out an application for her marriage license before her Jan. 12 wedding. Instead, she saw red text blaring “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,” said O’Rourke, a Capitol Hill resident and lobbyist who is planning a 140-person wedding at a Chinatown hotel.