Bride-to-be sues DC over dance ban, lawyers cite film ‘Footloose’ and say strip clubs permit dancing

Claiming the city is violating her First Amendment rights, a bride-to-be has sued the District of Columbia over its ban on dancing at weddings.

Margaret Appleby, who is scheduled to get married on June 6, filed a lawsuit on Monday, with her lawyers comparing the dancing ban to “an imitation of the 1984 movie Footloose.

The film starred a very young Kevin Bacon as a teen trying to overturn a dancing ban imposed on a small town by a minister played by John Lithgow.

After initially lifting a mask mandate, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser backtracked on May 1, yielding to pressure. Not only did she reinstate the mandate, she imposed stringent restrictions on weddings, permitting just 25 percent capacity at venues, and a waiver required if more than 250 people attend. Guests are required to remain seated and socially distanced during the entire event, which means no dancing.

But fiancée Margaret Appleby claims Bowser is inconsistent with the requirements.

“The District of Columbia allows dancing in strip clubs, in Zumba and dance studio classes, and in programs sponsored by the government’s Department of Parks and Recreation,” the complaint reads, according to Law & Crime.

Having already caved to the liberal mob, the mayor defended her actions during an appearance on CNN, comparing the dancing ban to restaurant guidelines, which say “you have to be seated to enjoy the restaurant.”

Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute and the Liberty Justice Center represent Appleby and they argue the U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that dancing is “a core part of the association and expression of the wedding as a whole.”

Hamilton’s senior attorney Adam Schulman added in a statement: “The First Amendment does not permit the District to irrationally discriminate against wedding dancing, while simultaneously allowing equally dangerous, though less expressive, activities to continue without remark.”

Pointing to the “last-minute alteration of the District’s COVID-19 protocols,” the soon-to-be bride said they had planned to include masked dancing as part of the celebration. Both she and her groom have also been vaccinated.

“Throughout the pandemic, both Appleby and her fiancé have made concerted efforts to adhere to the relevant COVID-19 guidelines to protect themselves and others,” the complaint said, according to Law & Crime.

Dancing is an integral part of what Appleby sees as a successful joining of a man and woman.

More from the complaint:

For Appleby, wedding dancing is an expression of community, symbolizing the celebration of the marriage rite, and representing the bringing together of two families into a common whole.

For Appleby, wedding dancing is unique and irreplaceable. No other medium will allow her to express the same message as wedding dancing at her reception.


Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter, to include a unique solution offered by more than one social media user:

Tom Tillison


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