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(Miss) California Dreaming April 30, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, National Politics, Politics, popular culture.
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ca-usa-2009I really thought that the dust-up over Miss California Carrie Prejean’s same-sex marriage comments during the Miss USA pageant would settle and fade away in time.  I mean, really, does ANYBODY think that ANYTHING a beauty queen has to say is that important?  (Think Sarah Palin!)

Apparently, they do.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, “celebrity blogger” and Miss USA judge Perez Hilton – who is openly gay – asked Miss Prejean about her opinion of same-sex marriage.  Miss Prejean answered that it was her opinion that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, “no offense” to anyone out there that may believe differently.  Miss California did not win, but instead finished as first runner-up to Miss North Carolina.

I, to be certain, did not watch the pageant – but I did see the crowning as I was flipping channels.  I had no idea that there was any controversy, but on the following Monday’s “Morning Joe”, Joe Scarborough asked Willie Geist (who was also a judge) if Prejean’s answer was what kept her from the crown.  Geist hemmed and hawed and said that he “hoped not”. 

Well, since then, this story got legs.  Miss California became the latest right-wing darling.  Miss Prejean has given her opinions on the issue again and again.  She was in Washington, D.C. today to appear in anti-gay marriage advertisements by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) – the organization behind the anti-gay marriage “gathering storm” ads.  Apparently, the Miss California-USA organization is none too happy about Miss Prejean using the pageant platform to espouse political and religious views.

“In the entire history of Miss USA, no reigning title holder has so readily committed her face and voice to a more divisive or polarizing issue,” the organizers said in a statement issued to the media. “We are deeply saddened Carrie Prejean has forgotten her platform of the Special Olympics, her commitment to all Californians, and solidified her legacy as one that goes beyond the right to voice her beliefs and instead reveals her opportunistic agenda.”

Carrie Prejean was Matt Lauer’s guest on the Today Show this morning, talking about the controversy and her new role with NOM.  If you watch the interview, perhaps you will be as struck as I am by the number of times she says, “I’m just here to protect marriage, Matt.”  Lauer even reads her the statement by the pageant officials and she can only reiterate, “I’m just here to protect marriage.”  (see the interview, below)

Can she answer protect it from what?  See, that’s the answer that anti-gay marriage people can never give you.  When asked directly how Adam and Steve getting married would devalue my marriage or place it in danger, they can not answer.  According to their “talking points” on their web site, the reason gay marriage should be illegal is because it deprives children of a mother and a father.  Huh?  Doesn’t single-parenthood, deadbeat parents, and parental death deprive a child of a mother and a father?  This is a little bit of a stretch, people.

Frankly, a few years ago, I was where all these folks are.  I was adamantly opposed to gay marriage, but when pressed for a reason why, I just couldn’t come up with anything more than, “It’s what I believe”.  Some people think that is enough – remember we used to believe that slavery was A-OK.  But just believing in something isn’t enough if it serves to deprive a good portion of citizens their rights as citizens.  It really forced me to rethink my position.

Right now, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Canada have legal gay marriage and surround my state of New York.  Soon, New Hampshire will follow.  Governor Patterson has introduced legislation to legalize gay marriages here in New York.  Iowa just approved it, and the California courts are likely to declare Prop 8 unconstitutional.  Since all these measures have been taken, I do not know of a single heterosexual couple whose marriage meant less because gay people married.  I do not know of a single heterosexual divorce because of gay marriage.  I do not know of a single church that has been forced by the governments of states where gay marriage is legal to perform one.  I do not know of a single religious group forced to provide their facilities for gay marriages. 

And as far as the NOM talking point  –  “If courts rule that same-sex marriage is a civil right, then, people like you and me who believe children need moms and dads will be treated like bigots and racists.” – goes….you ARE bigots and racists.

SEE THE TODAY SHOW INTERVIEW HERE

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