Betray Yourself, Not Your Sponsors—California Beauty Contestant Scorned by Her Own Handlers

Miss USA

Carrie Prejean, the 21-year-old Miss USA contestant from California, stood up for her values and stood down for the tiara that was almost hers. During the interview phase of the contest on Sunday, Judge Perez Hilton asked Ms. Prejean whether she believes in gay marriage. Prejean answered:

“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. . . . And you know what . . . 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.”

Ah, yes, but we do no longer live in a land where you can give an answer like that and still win a beauty contest. North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton won the crown and Carrie Prejean got “first runner-up.” Most believe it was her answer to gay advocate Perez Hilton that sunk Prejean’s chances. Some even believe it’s a travesty that she was the acknowledged runner-up after such an “insensitive” and “hateful” public statement about the definition of marriage.


  1. Carrie Prejean gave an unpopular but honest answer. She could have been dishonest and probably won the contest. To her credit, she stood by her values. But it isn’t her answer that bothers gay rights activists; it’s her attitude about gay rights and the definition of marriage.
  2. Carrie Prejean’s attitude is that marriage should be between a man and a woman. She cannot be accused of “gay bashing.” What she said is not a form of hate speech. As she said, she intended no offense to anyone. She simply said what she believes, as asked. My view? If you’re going to ask a question like that one, you’d better be able to handle the answer. Notice, no one has objected to the question, or to Hilton Perez for asking the question. So Prejean should have been free to answer, without recrimination, the question she was asked.
  3. Carrie Prejean was not “inclusive” enough in her answer, say her critics. But if she had answered that she approved of gay marriage, she would have excluded many Americans who also disapprove, including all those from her own state who passed Proposition 8 with their vote in November.
  4. Gay rights advocates are bound to take offense even if Carrie Prejean meant no offense. Gay rights advocates are duty-bound by their cause to take offense. It is a strategic requirement in their effort to persuade others of gay rights. “Being offended” is an acquired taste. It comes natural when you’ve trained for it.
  5. A beauty pageant is a popularity contest. Because of her answer, Carrie Prejean is unpopular with certain people. Which people? Gay rights activists. Who are gay rights activists? This is an important question. Some gays are not gay rights activists. Many gay rights activists are not gay. Gay rights activists are engaged in a strategy to marginalize anyone who believes that there is no “right” to gay marriage. You may believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. But do you have a right to believe this? Do you have a right to say so? Doesn’t matter. Gay rights activists will do anything in their power to ensure that if you believe it you will be made a pariah.
  6. Perez Hilton took umbrage at Carrie Prejean’s answer to his pagaent question. reports that the way Prejean “worded her answer seems to have infuriated Perez Hilton, who called her a ‘dumb bitch’ on his video blog, then apologized, but only for calling her a ‘dumb bitch.’ (Apparently, the ‘half a brain’ lines were still valid.)” So Hilton, in contrast to Prejean, is an intelligent and broad-minded person of good will who thinks Carrie Prejean deserved to lose the crown because of her “unfortunately worded remarks” (as they’re called over at
  7. Former Miss USA, now director of the Miss California USA pageant, Shanna Moekler has also made it publicly known that she’s disappointed in Carrie Prejean. As state pageant director who sought sponsors for Prejean’s participation in the pageant, Moekler was embarrassed and indignant, and said that Prejean had betrayed her sponsors. Apparently, Prejean should have betrayed herself and her own values, instead. This is very revealing about Moekler’s own moral compass. We should like to know who the sponsors are and which ones are so offended. In view of serious economic reversals in this country, it’s become imperative that Americans know more about the moral compass of corporate leaders. So tell us, Ms. Moekler, which sponsors are embittered by Prejean’s integrity?
  8. In the general election of November 2008, Californians voted to approve Proposition 8, affirming traditional marriage and prohibiting gay marriage. So it is especially poignant that Miss California defied gay rights activists’ opposition to Proposition 8. Talk about an embarrassment to the prickly denizens of the entertainment community in our state. I’m betting that future California contestants will be vetted for their views on gays rights issues.
  9. I admire Carrie Prejean’s courage. She knew she might be asked about gay marriage, and she hoped she wouldn’t be. She knew it would be risky to answer with honesty. She now says she would give the same answer over again. The test she passed may be much more significant than she realizes. Prejean’s courage will be rewarded with greater courage. That’s how growth in virtue works.
  10. She didn’t win the crown, but Carrie Prejean may now have more of a platform to inject greater judgment into public discussion of the gay rights debate. Greater judgment is sorely needed. But it won’t be enough to explain traditional convictions by saying only “this is how I was raised.” Prejean was pressed for time to answer a serious question tossed off by a cynical activist. Tender-hearted people need to ask the gay rights activists tough questions. Carrie Prejean is a tender-hearted person. May she and others equip themselves with knowledge of the sober facts about gay rights strategists and the plight of the gay community, and marshal these facts in the public square for the public good. For this purpose, I commend the work of Voddie Baucham on this sensitive topic.

Coming Post: Are you a Gay Rights Advocate?

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

20 Responses to Betray Yourself, Not Your Sponsors—California Beauty Contestant Scorned by Her Own Handlers

  1. Pingback: How to Judge a Beauty Pageant: Political Views more Important than Looks | MandM

  2. YAA Adding this to my bookmarks. Thank You


  3. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Kevin,

    You don’t use the word, but I think you’re referring to hypocrisy. Wherever there is a community that is defined by a set of beliefs, values, and practices, hypocrisy is a real possibility. It consists in behavior that conflicts with professed beliefs, values, practices.

    I wouldn’t say that Christianity, as such, has a tradition of hypocrisy. Do you mean that hypocrisy is a trademark of Christians? If so, I would have to disagree. And it’s unreasonable to infer from some cases of observed hypocrisy that this is how most Christians are. Also, what hypocrites believe (or profess to believe) must be distinguish from how they behave; what they believe may be true, even if they act like they don’t really believe.

    Flagrant hypocrisy is a better indicator of false profession than it is of the falsehood of what is professed.

    For an excellent discussion of this topic, you may want to read the book Hypocrisy: Moral Fraud and Other Vices, by James Spiegel.


  4. Kevin says:

    Perez Hilton is a berk. I thought her answer was fine. She was polite, and seemed to express that it was her own belief based on her family and how she was raised. Besides, we all know how much U.S. Americans respect the opinions of like beauty pageant contestants, like even in South Africa, or The Iraq. Such as.

    It was amusing to see that someone with such conservative, Christian values was fine with posing nude as a teenager and then lying about it. I personally don’t care – she’s a model, and what she chooses to do with her body is her business. But it does conform beautifully to the long-held Christian tradition about preaching one thing, and then doing the exact opposite. Hey, maybe she got her stance against gay marriage from Ted Haggard.


  5. Pingback: Day of Silence Redeux « The Pugnacious Irishman

  6. Pingback: Are same-sex marriage advocates tolerant of traditional-marriage advocates? « Wintery Knight Blog

  7. S Kingsley says:

    Keen points Doug. Government gave up on protecting marriage long ago when it began to implement no-fault divorce and divorce for any cause policies. When is the last time an adultery law was enforced, or sodomy law for that matter? The government *should* protect the virtue of the one-man+one-woman marriage relationship for the good of all society–present and future–but increasingly, we’re living in a Psalm 12:8 kind of world. “The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men [NASB]”


  8. Christaian says:

    I respect her for being able to talk her mind and not just “say” what a gay judge might want her to say in order to win a few more votes. Homosexuality is WRONG. Yes, God loves the homosexual and the lesbian, He just abhors what they do. They will be judged one day by HIM as will the rest of us. As far as being stripped of her crown goes…..I’d rather be stripped of it here on earth than to be stripped of my spiritual crown. She stood for what a true Christian believes.


  9. Rich Bordner says:


    As much as I encourage your willingness to converse with those you disagree, and while I applaud your willingness to call a spade a spade as to Hilton’s later comments, I too wonder what separation of church and state has to do with this. Can you spell it out more? The arguments against same-sex marriage turn on the definition of marriage and the common good. The traditional definition has been held by *all* societies up until this point, whether secular or religious.

    And yes, obviously we have heard of equal rights. What right are gays being denied, and why is it a right to begin with? At bottom, this is about societal approval–most gay activists I listen to say that in their more candid moments. That is, civil marriage confers a level of societal approval and encouragement upon relationships. You might desire that deeply, but why claim you have a “right” to societal approval?

    Also, what does choice have to do with it? Lets say I grant that homosexuality is 100% genetic (it’s more complicated than that). So what? What follows from that? There are several lifestyles, behaviors, and relationships that have genetic causes that the government doesn’t actively sponsor. The gov’t might *allow* for it (as it already does with same sex relationships), but why should a supposed genetic cause mean the gov’t should affirm it?


  10. Madeleine says:

    I find this case ridiculous! Especially contrasted with todays Australian beauty pageant controversy where judges and organisers defended having an emaciated, dangerously underweight contestant in their competition.

    What is a more important criteria for a beauty pageant? Appearance or political opinion?


  11. Alex says:

    I really appreciate you giving your take on the matter of “gay marriage”. I hope this is not your last post on the matter.


  12. Pingback: The Very Definition of Ironic « The Pugnacious Irishman

  13. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Eddie,

    Thanks for commenting. To be honest, my post is the first thing I’ve ever written about the gay rights movement.

    It’s interesting that you mention gay friends who are appalled by the Carrie Prejean incident. As I said in my post, not all gay people are gay rights advocates. This must be somewhat galling to those who are gay rights activists.

    Unrelated: Your tagline shows that you’re in the Port Angeles area. Our family just spent a week in Port Angeles/Sequim. It’s one of my favorite places in the world; I try to get there a couple times a year.


  14. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Mark,

    I appreciate your candor. I do wonder, though, why you think the Perez question was a fitting question for the occasion. And do you think Carrie Prejean’s answer should have made a difference to her eligibility to win the pageant?

    Of course Christians know about equal rights. But there needs to be and there will be a debate about what constitutes a right, and why there should be a right to same-sex marriage. For that matter, who decides what constitutes a marriage? What is the proper criterion?

    I don’t see what separation of church and state has to do with anything I wrote in my post (unless you think that marriage is a religious concept and should not be tampered with by the state). You seem to think there are no non-religious grounds for denying that gays have the right to marry same-sex partners. Surely you’re familiar with risks to those who adopt the gay lifestyle, risks that are especially great among men. What’s more, gay rights activists need to make the argument that same-sex marriage is a right. Homosexual conduct has a long history, but the demand to recognize a “right” to gay marriage is a recent phenomenon in human history. Doesn’t this place you on the wrong side of history? Being in love is hardly a sufficient basis for granting rights to marry. If it was sufficient, then why should a right to same-sex marriage be any more legitimate than a right to practice incest, or to enter into polygamous unions?

    Why is someone a bigot for believing that marriage should be between a man and a woman? What is the point in calling people bigots? I could see how this might work as an intimidation strategy. It might be effective in silencing people of good will who don’t want to be perceived as bigots. But the perception is one that has been manufactured by gay rights activists. (What’s the word for that, I wonder?) I’m especially interested in knowing what you think the government should do about bigots. Should bigotry be criminalized, for example?

    Just one more question. Can you point to any reputable research demonstrating that same-sex preferences are genetically determined?


  15. Pingback: “Being Offended” is an Acquired Taste « The Pugnacious Irishman

  16. Mark says:

    Go Perez

    As much as I disliked Perez’s later comments, I love that he asked the question. It generated huge discussions across the country about this subject. To have Miley Cirus endorse Gay Marriage is huge. Do you realize how many kids will agree with her opinion? Millions! Do you realize how many kids will be debating their parent’s intolerance for same sex marriage? Millions!

    Add Britney Spears to the mix….and change baby is on it’s way.

    Yo “Christians”….have you ever heard of equal rights? Have you ever heard of separation of church and state? You are on the wrong side of history and time will show how bigoted you are.

    Did you make a deliberate choice to be heterosexual? Not!

    I didn’t either, raised a son of a Southern Baptist Minister. Almost committed suicide at 12 years old when I realized my sexuality was very different from what my father preached.

    I am in a very committed monogamous relationship and can’t wait for the day I can legally marry the man I love. For you to deny me that right….is so very wrong.


  17. PerezClown says:

    Well said! I like in particular point #7 – we demand to know who these
    sponsor companies are so we can cross them off our shopping list.


  18. Doug,
    Thanks for making that as clear as you did to people like myself who are not engaged in the gay rights movement. I must say, I am appalled at the way Carrie has been treated for sticking up for her values. I don’t like gay activists. I don’t dislike gay people, in fact I have gay friends who are just as appalled aas I am over this treatment. After seeing the way Miss California Managers are treating Carrie, I am boycotting their organization. I am shocked that this could happen in America and I believe Americans will never look at beauty pageants the same again. We can thank gay activists for this.


  19. Rich Bordner says:

    PS–I’ve thought things through a bit (my response to D.O.S), but would appreciate any thoughts you or any other educators have (especially those in public ed like myself).

    Controversial, you bet–but I think it’s about time for some of that for me…:)


  20. Rich Bordner says:

    Dr. Geivett,

    Excellent observations! Many gay rights advocates might proclaim some form of relativism (or at least they’ll take advantage of many of it’s slogans and sound bites) and will use it to argue for gay rights, but things like this show they are only relativists when it suits them. They become absolutists pretty quick when they encounter a view they don’t like.

    Observation #4 is especially poignant. Many people are so “trained” to be offended that our view is marginalized even before its stated. All that is needed to shove a viewpoint off the playing field prematurely is a strong dose of emoting. That has been entrenched in our nation’s soul for a few years now.

    #6 is very, very true, but sadly will be lost on most citizens, who are used to equating “right” with whoever expressed the most righteous indignation (minus conservatives, of course. Their expressed indignation just confirms the stereotypes)..

    Come to think of it, #5 is poignant too, b.c your post comes at a very opportune time for me. The “Day of Silence” is going to happen at my school on Friday, and I’m in the process of planning a calculated, wise, winsome response…at least it’s my hope my response will be like that. My concern is that no matter what, even if I just barely question one of the assumptions of the GLBT movement, I will be marginalized and made a pariah…just for questioning! Therefore, I will have to be *extremely* calculating in how I approach things….I covet your prayers.


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