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Carrie Prejean to Values Voter Summit: 'God chose me' with the gay-marriage question

September 18, 2009 |  7:08 pm

Carrie Prejean

It’s easy to make fun of beauty queens -- their plastic smiles, their bottle-blond tresses, their dreams for world peace. But Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California whose declaration that marriage should be between a man and woman earned her the vilification of some in the gay rights community, provided an unanticipated emotional highlight at a conference of Christian conservatives in Washington today.

In a heartfelt talk that moved some in the crowd to tears, Prejean recounted for the 1,700 activists gathered for the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in Washington how distressing it was to go from shoo-in for Miss USA to not only losing, but being reviled and mocked for the answer on gay marriage she gave to pageant judge Perez Hilton, the celebrity gossip blogger.

“I knew as soon as I didn’t give the PC answer, I knew there was no way I would become Miss USA,” said Prejean, 22.

She had gone into the pageant in April believing herself to be the front-runner, and had spent months preparing: she had makeup coaches, walking coaches, accent modification coaches. For the question-and-answer portion of the pageant, she felt more than prepared because she had studied 500 questions. But then came Hilton’s question.

“Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”

“I saw all my prep fly by me,” said Prejean.

To the Values Voter crowd’s immense delight, she added: “As I saw my goals and aspirations flash by me, I knew God had a plan for me… God chose me for that moment. He knew I was strong enough to get through all the junk that I have been through.”

What she went through, she said, was “a vicious storm of attacks,” including being vulgarly insulted by Hilton in an Internet video, and having her parents’ divorce records published by tabloids.

She has also had a series of legal tangles with the Miss USA pageant, whose owner, Donald Trump, initially stood by her, as well as the company that owns the Miss California pageant, which she sued after it revoked her crown.

It’s not all bad news for Prejean, though. She also has a book coming out (“Still Standing”) and a burgeoning career on the inspirational speaker circuit.

“Even though I didn’t win the crown that night,” said Prejean, tearing up, “I know the Lord has so much of a bigger crown in heaven for me.”

The crowd stood and cheered. Luckily, it was time for lunch. She would have been a hard act to follow.

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Carrie Prejean with, hosts Billy Bush and Nadine Velazquez,  answers a question from judge Perez Hilton, unseen, about legalizing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA Pageant in April. Credit: Associated Press.

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