D.C. Mayor drops ban on wedding dancing after bride sues

May 17, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2021) — The mayor of Washington D.C. announced today that she is lifting her ban on dancing at weddings. The announcement comes a week after a D.C.-area bride, Margaret Appleby, sued over the ban with the help of attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute.

Margaret Appleby was making final preparations for her June 6, 2021, wedding when she was blindsided by Mayor Bowser’s plans to put in place further limitations on couples’ celebrations by banning all dancing. The bride enlisted attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center, a national public interest law firm that fights for constitutional rights, and D.C.-based Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute to challenge the order.

“Today’s announcement marks a victory, but let’s not lose sight that this is an issue that should have never reached the point of litigation,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Mayor Bowser’s order was not justified by science or the law — she was taking her city backwards as the country is opening up. 2020 was a banner year for government overreach and Americans have had enough.’”

Bride Appleby now looks forward to celebrating her wedding with fewer restrictions.

“Wedding planning is never stress-free but planning a wedding while navigating ever-changing COVID rules has presented a new level of challenges,” said Appleby. “It’s unfortunate that I had to file a lawsuit to dance at my wedding, but I’m relieved for all the couples who can now celebrate with friends and family after this long and unpredictable year.”

Appleby’s attorneys plan to move forward with settling and dismissing the lawsuit once the mayor formally rescinds the restrictions.

“I’m glad that the District came to its senses,” said Adam Schulman, a senior attorney with the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute. “But it shouldn’t be this hard. Government officials must not disfavor deeply-rooted constitutional rights in their zeal to micromanage citizens’ behavior.”

Appleby v. Bowser was filed May 10, 2021, in the United State District Court for the District of Columbia. Appleby v. Bowser case filings and the mayor’s modified measures are available here.

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