|PIC1|Miss California Carrie Prejean, who was named first runner up in the Miss USA Pageant on Sunday, says she believes her answer on same-sex marriage cost her the title but admits that she has no regrets.
During the Las Vegas pageant, Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, asked Prejean whether every state should follow Vermont's recent move to legalise same-sex marriage.
"Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other," responded Prejean. "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," she continued. "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."
On Monday, Prejean spoke about the gay marriage question to entertainment host Billy Bush, co-host of the NBC ceremony.
"It did cost me my crown," Carrie told Bush on his radio talk show. "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.
"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," she added. "But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything."
She told Fox News: "By having to answer that (Hilton) question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith. I'm glad I stayed true to myself."
Prejean was placed second in the pageant to Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton who was crowned Miss USA 2009 during the live NBC telecast of the show.
Still, Miss California says she feels like she won.
"I feel like I’m the winner. I really do, Billy," she said Monday.
Hilton, who appeared to be holding back his anger following Prejean's response, exploded with rage against her in a video posting on his blog.
The Hollywood blogger called Prejean a "stupid b----" in the video and said he would have gone up on stage and snatched the tiara from her head if she had won Miss USA.
Hilton said if he was Miss California, he would have responded: "Hmm. Perez, that's a great question. That's a very hot topic in our country right now. And I think that is a question that each state should decide for themselves because that's how our forefathers designed our government."
He has since apologised for calling her names and said he would love to take her out for coffee to "talk".
Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, told FOXNews.com that he was "saddened" and "hurt" over Miss California's comments.
"I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit," he said. "I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."
Lewis also released a statement on the Miss California website.
"I am proud of Carrie Prejean’s beauty and placement at the 2009 MISS USA pageant," he stated. "I support Carrie’s right to express her personal beliefs even if they do not coincide with my own. I believe the subject of gay marriage deserves a great deal more conversation in order to heal the divide it has created."
Prejean's school, San Diego Christian College, responded to the news of her nabbing the first runner-up title.
"As a community we congratulate Carrie on this accomplishment," the school stated in an update of a story on Prejean. "She is a great example of a student who is seeking to have an impact on the world for Christ."
According to the school's article, Prejean is studying toward a career in special education. She is also active in her community, serving in a ministry that helps women in the adult entertainment industry, volunteering at the local International Ministry Center where she has helped refugees learn to speak English, and mentoring children in foster care through the programme Voices for Children.
Miss California: Traditional marriage answer 'cost me my crown'
Published 23 April 2009 | Elena Garcia, Christian Post