Update: Linked from Hot Air’s Green Room — thank you! — see below.
I took a pleasant jaunt down to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., yesterday to see Carrie Prejean headline a press conference for the new TV spot against gay marriage by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Ms. Prejean is Miss California in the Miss USA pageant system and told pageant judge and celebrity gossip blogger, Perez Hilton, that she opposed gay marriage when he asked her opinion on the topic at the pageant on April 19.
BTW, I think Hilton’s question was entirely fair, since Prop. 8 banning gay marriage in California only months after it had been approved by a court decision earlier in 2008 meant that if Miss California became Miss USA, she was bound to be asked that question in every interview. Whatever, her answer has made her more famous than winning the pageant would have and she has been quick to make the most of her notoriety.
I arrived about five minutes before the press conference, which I expected to be thronged. Judging from the number of press kits available, so did NOM. However, there were only about a dozen reporters — a mix of small-fry like me with a few heavy-hitters like Fox News, which has video; Inside Edition; ABC News and the Washington Times. One guy behind me was from a Latter-Day Saints group; he sat next to a guy from a Catholic group.
Prejean gave prepared remarks, first claiming she was there as a private citizen, but then contradicted herself by asserting that she represented the state of California and the majority opinion in the United States:
I believe very strongly that a marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a union between a husband and a wife. What’s more that I believe millions of Americans also believe the same thing. I’m representing the state of California as you all know. There was over seven million voters, California voters that have voted on this. So not only was I representing my state but the majority of people in my nation. This vision of marriage is not hateful. It’s not discriminatory. It’s good. Marriage is good. There is something special about unions of husband and wives. Unless we bring men and women together children will not have mothers and fathers. I do not want to raise my own children in a world where this tradition [sic] view of marriage is considered hateful or discriminatory, especially not by my own government.
Prejean also said that NOM wasn’t paying her for her appearance. Except, you know, for all the publicity, which I expect Prejean will do her utmost to turn into cash.
Prejean’s NOM handlers let her answer a few questions. The Inside Edition reporter asked her to comment on the Miss California pageant organization paying for her boob job. She refused and called the question “inappropriate.” (They’re late — Stacy McCain has been on this story for days and has the scoop.)
Because the room was so empty, I had secured the chair directly in front of the podium where Prejean spoke. I did not think Ms. Prejean was going to call on me, so I just spoke up and asked her, “Will you show your support for marriage by dating only ex-gay men?”
She glared and called my question inappropriate, too, although I think it is entirely fair. In fact, I think it would be the basis for a hit reality show. Assuming Ms. Prejean is ever willing to put her moneymaker where her mouth is, supporting marriage-wise.
My two favorite beauty pageant movies are Miss Congeniality and Little Miss Sunshine. If you haven’t seen the latter, seriously, watch it for its peerless social commentary on the talent portion of any pageant.
Also at the press conference, NOM president Maggie Gallagher denounced supporters of gay marriage for calling opponents of gay marriage bigots and liars. It would have helped her cause a little more if she had not then repeated the core messages of NOM’s first spot, “A Gathering Storm,” which can quite fairly and properly be called lies and distortions, as the following video explains:
One of Ms. Gallagher’s claims was that allowing gay marriage would be disruptive to individuals, small businesses and religious groups. I’ll answer that in more detail in the future, but right now I think I can sum up my reply as being, “Maybe — but so what? That’s what CHANGE does — it CHANGES the way we do things. When I was Ms. Prejean’s age (21) in 1974, women were fighting for equal rights in every aspect of life — there were plenty of people lined up against that change, too, with almost exactly the same rationalizations. Well, it turns out most of that change was for the better and 2008 proved it when the candidates in the race for president who were the most qualified both by resume and character were Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.
Update, May 1, 2009: Perez Hilton has gotten the NOM TV ad “No Offense” pulled because it uses a short clip from one of his Web videos. Gay blog Good As You is livid — with Perez Hilton.
Update, May 1, 2009: At Hot Air’s Green Room, my dear friend Stacy McCain, who is an indefatigible yenta, poses a question that I WISH I’d thought of.
Update, May 1, 2009: Allahpundit also is in the Green Room trying to terrify people who are on the fence over marriage equality for lesbians and gays that our achieving equality will lead to prosecution for “thought crimes.” First of all — nonsense! Second, I can do him one better. Lesbians and gays are punished and murdered in the U.S. and around the world for a BEING crime. For example, I just saw a clip on CNN saying that you can serve in the U.S. military without being a U.S. citizen and get citizenship. But U.S. citizens like me — and one of my ancestors fought with George Washington at Valley Force — are NOT full citizens because we are barred from serving openly in the military for a BEING crime.
Update, May 1, 2009: GayPatriot has some words of wisdom about Ms. Prejean.