Many a little girl has dreamed of being crowned Miss USA. And while this year’s first runner-up—Miss California—may not have won the beauty contest, I’d say there’s a different kind of crown in her future.
Miss California’s name is Carrie Prejean. She was absolutely thrilled to make it to the top five on Sunday’s annual Miss USA contest. But when this outspoken Christian faced contest judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip-blogger, the fairy tale came to an abrupt halt.
Perez asked a very pointed question: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”
Prejean responded to the specific question with a specific answer: She thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Even in stating her response, she apologized if the response offended anyone listening. But she stuck by her convictions.
Prejean said later that she knew her response would cost her the win because, in her words, “I’d spoken from my heart, for my beliefs, and for my God.”
There’s no way of knowing for sure, but as pageant organizer Donald Trump said, “It probably did cost her the crown.”
In an interview with the Today Show , another judge Claudia Jordan said, “A few of the judges were really against her. They were really bothered by her answer.” Jordan went on to add, “In pageants as in politics it is probably best to give a neutral answer if you want to win.”
What a sad commentary on our society that speaking from conviction is an offense. An even sadder reflection on our society is judge Perez Hilton’s response to the entire situation. On his blog, he used an expletive to describe Miss California and said that if she had won, he would have gone up on stage and ripped the tiara off her head. Now that would have been a true triumph of tolerance!
In a calmer moment, Perez told interviewer Matt Lauer, “I would have appreciated it if she had left her politics and her religion out, because Miss USA represents all Americans.” He went on to say, “Miss USA is not a person that is alienating . . . Miss USA is someone who represents me and represents all America, is someone who is inclusive.”
How Perez can’t see the contradiction in what he is saying is beyond me. Apparently, when asked a personal question with political and religious ramifications, it’s taboo to give a personal answer with political and religious ramifications. And apparently, to represent America, you must represent only one part of America.
To Prejean’s credit, she’s taken the loss in stride and says she has no regrets. And she’s excited about the new platform the experience will give her.
“I know that I have a purpose,” she said calmly. “I know now that I can go out and speak to young people about standing up for what they believe in and never compromising for anyone or anything—even if it’s the crown of Miss USA.”
Now there’s a first-place role model every little girl can truly look up to.