By Sarah Rozman | April 21, 2009
At the Miss USA pageant, an unexpected answer to a polarizing question.
Miss USA judge Perez Hilton (a celebrity blogger and openly gay man who calls himself “the Queen of all media”) asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, the question: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?” Here’s her response:
A couple thoughts.
Prejean should certainly be commended for giving an honest answer, though she knew her response would be unpopular and could even cost her the title.
I wish I could edit out “opposite marriage” from her response. That fumble, however, is revealing. Prejean was trying to distinguish between a union between two persons of the same sex, and a union between a man and a woman. In order to specify a union between two persons of the same sex, we add a qualifier: “gay” or “same sex.” But what about when it’s between a man and a woman? The term we generally use is, simply, “marriage.” (The qualifier “traditional” is working its way in as the definition of “marriage” is eroded. No thanks to Merriam-Webster.) But there’s hope for us still.
Look at the media: How are they casting the headlines? How do they portray Prejean? How do they portray Hilton and other gay marriage supporters? What are readers/viewers given to understand about Prejean and about how Americans feel about gay marriage?
Why did pageant officials allow this question? Did they take for granted what the answer would be? Obviously, Prejean’s response was not welcome.
Congratulations to Prejean, who in follow-up interviews has conducted herself gracefully and reaffirmed her answer and her beliefs. We Christians can definitely take some tips from her smiles, kindness, and composure.
Meanwhile, about 48% of California may have gotten more than it bargained for in this year’s Miss California.