The gay marriage front in the culture war has spilled over into another bona fide American institution — the beauty pageant. Miss California, Carrie Prejean, told the Today show that she didn’t win Sunday’s Miss USA pageant because of her response to a question about same-sex unions.
“I knew that I was not going to win because of my answer,” said Prejean, who was first runner up. “Because I had spoken from my heart, for my beliefs and for my God. … It’s not about being politically correct, for me, it’s about being biblically correct.”
Biblically correct or not, Prejean’s answer to judge Perez Hilton’s question seems relatively harmless, even fairly open-minded: “I think it’s great Americans are able to choose one or the other,” said Prejean, a student at San Diego Christian College studying to become a special education teacher.
“We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what 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 there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be, between a man and a woman.”
Afterward, Hilton, a celebrity gossip blogger (not to be confused with Paris Hilton, a celebrity gossip generator), called it the “worst answer in pageant history.” He obviously didn’t see Miss South Carolina Teen USA’s 2007 response to a geography question. “I was floored,” Hilton told ABCNews.com Monday. “I applaud her for her honesty. However, she is not a politician, she’s a hopeful Miss USA. Miss USA should represent everyone. Her answer alienated millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters. She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that.”
Conservative evangelicals seem ready to nominate Prejean for martyrdom. “The backlash to Prejean’s commonsense comments demonstrates the naked intolerance of the militant homosexual movement . . . And if it gets its way in Congress, comments like (hers) may someday be considered a ‘hate crime,” said Gary Bauer, president of American Values (the conservative activist group, not the concept).
Liberal commentators say Prejean’s comments were anything but harmless and reflect an unacceptable form of soft bigotry: “There is no room for preference or belief when it comes to legally enforceable discrimination that is imposed on the entire population,” attorney Emma Ruby-Sachs wrote for Huffington Post.
So which offends you more, America?
Prejean’s comments? The likelihood that her views cost her the pageant crown? Or the fact that so many people seem to care so much about a beauty pageant contestant’s response to a celebrity blogger’s question on a TV show?