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VIDEO: Online competition begins for all-expense-paid same-sex wedding

WASHINGTON -- In honor of the passage of the D.C. Marriage Equality Act, a group of prominent Washington-area wedding vendors have teamed up to offer a same sex couple the wedding of a lifetime, valued at over $100,000.

The first of its kind – Freedom2Wed – is an online wedding competition for same-sex couples. The winning couple will have successfully demonstrated their commitment to marriage equality and furthering the national effort to achieve fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Michael Kress, owner of MBK Associates and a well-known Washington photographer who led the effort, said “every couple has a great story to tell and this competition will remind people that this is still really just about the freedom to love who you choose.”

A full description of eligibility requirements, contestant rules, application and other program details are available HERE. Applications must be submitted online no later than June 30.

“It’s incredible that area businesses have altruistically banded together to offer a lucky couple the wedding everyone dreams of. This shows the time for marriage equality has come and that the business community is behind it. I wish the winning couple a lifetime of memories and I honor and support the merchants involved,” said Mark Guenther, the executive director of the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

The Freedom2Wed competition organizers also include Kelly Jenkins, Capital Décor and Events; Jodi Moraru, Evoke; and, Steve Dunn, Well Dunn Catering; all of whom will serve as the first round of judges, choosing five finalists by July 4. Online voting by the public will take place between July 4 and Aug. 4 on The Freedom2Wed website.

The winning couple will be announced in early August.

The Freedom2Wed winning couple will be married on Oct. 3. The all-inclusive wedding package includes venue, invitation design and printing, attire, rings, rental equipment, flowers, lighting, live music, videography, a California honeymoon package and more.

The D.C. Council passed the Civil Marriage Equality Act in December 2009, joining five states in legalizing same-sex marriage; the law went into effect on March 3, 2010.

For more information and competition rules, visit the website provided above.