Sunday night, Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton was named Miss USA, but news coverage of the pageant since then has focused on Miss California and her answer to a judge’s question regarding “same-sex marriage.
The Las Vega pageant, which included women from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, aired Sunday night on NBC. The contestants were judged in swimsuit and evening gown competitions before being asked a question by one of the judges.
Miss California, Carrie Prejean, was asked a question by the pageant judge Perez Hilton, who is an openly homosexual gossip blogger. In the final round of the competition, Prejean, from San Diego, was asked by Hilton: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”
To which she answered: “I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman."
Reaction to her response has been mixed. Immediately following her answer, cheers and boos could be heard throughout the audience.
Keith Lewis, one of the state’s directors for the Miss California competition told Fox News that he was “saddened” by Prejean’s response.
"As co-executive director of Miss CA USA and one of the leaders of the Miss CA family, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss CA USA 2009 believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "Although I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit, I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone. Religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss CA family."
Also voicing his disapproval for Prejean’s answer, Hilton spoke with Access Hollywood after the pageant and explained that her answer was the reason she was not named the winner.
“The way Miss California answered her question lost her the crown, without a doubt! Never before that I’m aware of has a contestant been booed at Miss USA.”
However, Prejean told Fox News that she is happy to continue standing by her answer, a statement she repeated when she was interviewed by Billy Bush, who co-hosted the pageant, on Monday morning.
According to Access Hollywood, Prejean told Bush, “It did cost me my crown. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I said what I feel. I stated an opinion that was true to myself and that’s all I can do.”
She continued: It is a very touchy subject and he is a homosexual and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would’ve wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything.”
“I feel like I won. I feel like I’m the winner. I really do,” Prejean said.