Pageant answers taken seriously

There has been a slew of coverage of Miss California's statements that she does not support gay marriage laws and her belief that her comments resulted in a missed chance at being crowned Miss USA. For a summary of the in depth, extensive coverage of the incident, and to make sure I don't misconstrue any of the critical details of this factually sensitive story, here is a summary from the Associated Press:

Carrie Prejean defended her views Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, telling host Matt Lauer that she spoke from the heart during Sunday's pageant when she said that "marriage should be between a man and a woman."

The beauty queen's response to a question from openly gay pageant judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has received more attention than the winner, Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton.

Hilton, who also appeared on the "Today" show, said his question was relevant and that Prejean should have "left her politics and her religion out because Miss USA represents all Americans."

For those of you who cannot hear the YouTube clip above, which has Prejean's entire statement and Hilton's reaction, it is important to note that she limited her comments to her personal views. She preceded the statement by saying that she thought it was great that in the United States there were options. Prejean also stated that she felt this personally because "that's how I was raised." I cannot believe I am parsing a statement in response from a question in a pageant.

As a commenter noted in submitting the story, there isn't much discussion about how she was raised. None of the stories I've read mention what, if any, faith she maintained (her college's Web site makes it pretty clear she is a Christian), but we're left to presume that it was a typical denominationless evangelical Christian upbringing that was nothing like the portrayal in that wonderful 2006 movie Little Miss Sunshine. Apparently she was raised in a culture where beauty pageants are worth taking an entire semester off school. Someone needs to examine how that happens in today's world.

Another aspect of the story that has received some attention is the issue of her sister and her support for the statement:

Days after Miss California delivered her controversial answer on gay marriage that she claims cost her the Miss USA crown, Carrie Prejean appears to be straddling the line in the debate, invoking a sister she claims is a "gay rights activist" while defending her "biblically correct" response.

"My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist," Prejean told "Access Hollywood" Monday, adding that her sister is not gay. "She supports gay people, she supports gay marriage. My beliefs have nothing to do with my sister or my mom, or whatever," she told the entertainment program.

Her statement Monday seemed to contradict her comments Sunday night when she said her family believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.

As a commenter noted, this may just be a pageant story, but readers would probably like to know a bit more about the background that "cost Miss California the title" because the way she was "raised" seems to be at the heart of the story.

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