When Faith and Beauty Queens Collide

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Sparks flew at the Miss USA pageant last night when Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA and San Diego resident answered blogger Perez Hilton’s question regarding marriage equality  (he was judge number eight), saying that she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,” Prejean said. “And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

 ”While Miss California is entitled to her opinions regarding same sex marriage, it’s unfortunate that it is based on misinformation. Her response to Mr. Hilton shows just how much educating  the LGBT community, and groups like ours, have to do in OUR country to ensure that everyone has equal protection under the law.” commented John Santoianni, Harvey Milk Stonewall Democrats of Orange County president.

 Ed Todeschini, Orange County Federal Club Co-chair with Human Rights Campaign responded, “I find it hard to accept that someone honored with this title would first of think that a person could simply choose to be married to one sex or another, and secondly that she would use her own personal belief to deny civil marriage rights to millions of Americans she pledges to represent.”

“Miss California’s remarks were very disappointing. it shows how much more we need to educate the public. Love is love, and that should have been her answer. I bet she would have won the crown if she had shown a more inclusive response,” Jim Rogers, ECCO Chairman (Elections Committee of the County of Orange, an LGBT PAC) added.

According to several sources, this is the first time a contestant was booed during the Miss USA competition. Organizers and many of the gay audience members were outraged by Prejean’s response and reportedly took their frustration to the lobby after the competition, starting several heated arguments between contestant relatives, and supporters who saw nothing wrong with Prejean’s response.

The controversial remarks follow the blunder of Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008’s posted an entry after a visit to Guantanamo Bay saying it was, “aloooot of fun” after touring the military base housing the infamous military prison. The pageant later deleted the post from its web site.

Perez Hilton posted nasty comments on his blog afterwards and called Prejean’s answer the worst in pageant history.

Misha Houser is the Public Affairs Director for ECCO and Development Director for the Harvey Milk Stonewall Democrats of Orange County.