Contest for Kern County same-sex couples

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">George Takei, center left, and his partner Brad Altman display they get their marriage certificate permit in West Hollywood, Calif. on Tuesday, June 17, 2008. The May 15 California Supreme Court ruling that overturned the state&#39;s bans on same-sex marriage became final at 5:01 p.m. Monday. &#40;AP Photo&#47;Hector Mata&#41;</span></div>
June 17, 2008 9:46:23 AM PDT
An East Bay business owner is inviting same-sex couples in Kern County to participate in a contest to win a marriage ceremony and a small reception dinner at his Berkeley restaurant.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in California, which took effect Monday following a state Supreme Court decision on May 15, prompted Kern County's clerk to halt marriage ceremonies by the county altogether.

Russell Bass, owner of Berkeley's Cafe de la Paz, said an ad will run in the Bakersfield Californian today informing Kern County residents of the contest.

The ad features two grooms atop a wedding cake and reads, "Have no fear; shed no tear; bring your wedding plans up here."

To enter, couples describe in writing why they would like to be married at the Berkeley restaurant.

Bass promises that the winners will receive a ceremony performed by a "Berkeley official" and a free dinner for 10. He notes that the winners can book the facility for more people at a cost.