In Washington, three marriages and a "shutdown"

In Washington, love is stronger than the "shutdown" and allows couples trapped by the partial closure of the federal administrations to marry in the marriage thanks to the federal capital.

The mayor, Muriel Bowser, drew up an emergency measure on Friday to allow officials of the capital to regularize trade unions instead of the marriage agency, closed since December 22 because of lack of funding by the federal state.

The marriage agency is part of the Columbia District Court, but the budget comes from the government and officials of this service, who are non-essential & # 39; be taken on leave without leave.

"They can shut down the US government, but they can not extinguish love in the District of Columbia," said council member Brandon Todd this week.

This law, with the well-chosen acronym "LOVE" ("Love"), is valid for 90 days and prevents brides and grooms like Claire O & # 39; Rourke from being in a Kafka-like situation.

This young Washington resident has to marry his fiancée, Sam Bockenhauer, on Saturday.

"We could not sign all legal certificates during the + shutdown + without a marriage certificate, so we would obviously have a great party, but we could not legally get married in Washington before we had our certificate," she explains to AFP. This certificate is required to complete a declaration.

Some lovebirds, such as Dan Pollock and Danielle Geanacopoulos, could not wait to marry due to lack of time. The couple came to the marriage agency on 27 December and discovered that it had only been closed two days before the scheduled ceremony.

– "A lot of chaos" –

"We realized that we could not get a certificate, we did not have time, while family and friends would come to Washington, so we focused on what was really important: the party, the rest can wait," says Danielle.

The mother of the bride, Daphne, says she is "delighted". "We had a wonderful and big wedding party two weeks ago and it's great that it's now official," she says with a smile.

For Caitlin Walters, who will march to Kirk Kasa on the campus of the Catholic University of Washington on February 2, the shutdown will only be a "delay on the road".

"Of course we were aware of the + shutdown +, but we did not know that this would directly affect our ability to marry legally in Washington," said the resident of New York, who was determined to hold the ceremony in the capital. hold.

More generally, the budget stalemate penalizes the entire marriage sector, says wedding planner Rachel Rice, who recently had to move a last-minute ceremony to Virginia. "There is a lot of chaos, uncertainty for my customers," she says. "Even if the administration were reopened next month, people could say + I can not wait to book the room, the caterer, the photographer +".

Federal employees who have been on leave and have not received their salary to be paid on Friday could also reduce their budget, she adds.

The shutdown also spoiled part of the bride program of Claire O & # 39; Rourke. The National Portrait Gallery, where she wanted to make the official photo of her wedding, is closed like most museums in the capital of the Smithsonian Institute.