Whitesburg KY
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It is her right

It would be one thing if Carrie Prejean had auditioned to represent the United States in a capacity that required skills beyond working the catwalk in a bikini and negotiating steps in sky-high heels and an evening gown. Incidentally, those are not inconsiderable skills.

But, no, when Carrie Prejean answered the question that made her famous, she was trying to become the next in a long line of crowned queens in a pageant literally descended from a “bathing beauty” competition.

As Miss California, Ms. Prejean was a finalist for Miss USA when she was asked a question about gay marriage by judge/celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. Her answer was thus:

“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that 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.”

In the days since, Ms. Prejean has been attacked not because people couldn’t understand her answer, but precisely because they could — and they didn’t like it, or agree with it.

Too bad.

She was asked a question about an issue that divides many of us, and she answered it in an honest, if garbled, way. She should not be pilloried — or subject to a vile Internet rant, as Mr. Hilton delivered — for giving her opinion. And last time we checked, it was an American value to defend the right of others to say what they think, even if it’s a Miss USA contestant whose views may come across as intolerant. That her attackers have shown themselves to be intolerant, too, is just one of the ironies in the Miss USA flap.

Here’s one more: Ms. Prejean didn’t win the crown, or any points with parsers, but she may well have won something more — a new career, as a spokeswoman for the National Association for Marriage.

— The Courier-Journal, Louisville

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