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Miss California sparks outrage over gay marriage remarks

By Jimmy Orr / April 20, 2009

Hosts Billy Bush and Nadine Velazquez listen as Miss California Carrie Prejean answers a question from judge Perez Hilton about legalizing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA Pageant. "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."

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Mixing a beauty pageant with politics is a recipe for disaster. You could make a strong case for it, anyway.

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The two merged last night at the site of the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. The result was similar to the fallout after the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007 when Miss South Carolina gave the greatest non-answer answer perhaps in American history. Both times the non-winner of a pageant got all the attention the next day.

Outrage

But unlike the pageant two years ago, the contestant in the crossfire didn't give a nonsensical (and wildly entertaining) answer. The contestant last night, California's Carrie Prejean, was too articulate in the minds of many and led to some flaring tempers (similar to Janeane Garofalo's flare-up on Keith Olbermann's show the other night).

The question posed to the contestant couldn't be any more incendiary: gay marriage.

Asked judge Perez Hilton to Prejean, "Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?"

Observers quickly learned that in Hilton's mind there was only one correct answer. And Prejean picked the wrong one.

“Well I think its great that Americans are able to choose one or the other," she said. "We live in a land where 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 out there but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much.”

Prejean was greeted with a mixed reaction from the audience. Boos followed by applause. And the reactions didn't stop at the pageant. It went into overtime.

Worst answer

Perez then blasted her on his video blog calling it the "worst answer in pageant history." He also made comments that he has since apologized for. Now he's asked her out for coffee to "talk."

The directors of the Miss California pageant condemned her answer on Monday morning.

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