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Miss California: God was testing me

Carrie Prejean

At Sunday night’s Miss USA pageant, contestant Carrie Prejean was asked the one question she dreaded most, “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage; do you think every state should follow suit?”

Prejean, already crowned Miss California, was considered a front-runner in the Miss USA contest, but she knew her answer to that one question might not sit well with the panel, especially the inquiring judge, openly homosexual celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who calls himself “the queen of all media.”

“Out of all the topics I studied up on, I dreaded that one; I prayed I would not be asked about gay marriage,” Prejean told the Fox News Channel’s Courtney Friel in an exclusive interview. “If I had any other question, I know I would have won.”

Her answer, which suddenly has made her the center of both praise and scorn, included the words, “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 and that’s how I think it should be – between a man and a woman.”

Video of the question and Prejean’s full answer can be seen here:

In her interview with Friel, Prejean explained that, ultimately, the greatest judge of her character was not the one who asked her the question, but the one who doesn’t need a TV camera to watch her answer.

“This happened for a reason. By having to answer that question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith,” Prejean said. “I’m glad I stayed true to myself.”

On NBC’s “Today” this morning, Prejean, a student at San Diego Christian College, elaborated:

“I knew at that moment after I answered the question, I knew, I was not going to win because of my answer, because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs and for my God,” she said. “I wouldn’t have answered it differently. The way I answered may have been offensive. With that question specifically, it’s not about being politically correct. For me it was being biblically correct.”

In the Fox News interview, Prejean added, “I have no regrets about answering honestly. [Perez Hilton] asked me for my opinion and I gave it to him. I have nothing against gay people, and I didn’t mean to offend anyone in my answer.”

Hilton, however, appeared highly offended in a YouTube video he made shortly after the contest’s conclusion, calling her a “dumb b—–” and claiming she had given “the worst answer in pageant history.”

In a follow-up interview on MSNBC, Hilton was asked if he had apologized for the comment, but instead added to it.

“I don’t apologize,” Hilton said on air. “Over the course of the past 24 hours, the more I’ve thought about it, the more – you know what? – No, I’m going to stand by what I said just like she’s standing by what she said. And I called her the ‘b’ word, and hey, I was thinking the ‘c’ word.”

Hilton also appeared on NBC’s “Today,” explaining that he demands a Miss USA winner be “politically savvy,” and that even though Prejean is a Christian, he doesn’t want her “talking about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, because that’s offensive.”

An audio clip of Hilton’s comments can be heard below:

Hilton’s comments have drawn sharp reaction, even from those who might also disagree with Prejean’s answer.

“I am an openly gay man and a supporter of same sex marriage and I wish Perez Hilton would shut up,” writes syndicated talk show host Charles Karel Bouley in a column on Huffington Post. “This is a person who is famous for smearing snarky and crude things over celebrity photos and following Brittney’s every move. He lives for controversy and is only famous for it.”

Of the controversy on pageant night, Bouley writes, “It’s a question with no right answer for a pageant contestant and one that also insults every person out there that is gay or lesbian – not her answer, the question.”

Prejean, who ultimately finished as top runner-up in the contest, losing the crown to Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton, admits she was upset by Hilton’s rant, but also claims she has received an outpouring of support.

“I’ve gotten over 500 facebook friend requests, hundreds of messages from people I don’t know, saying how proud of me they are that I stood my ground,” she said. “That made me the real winner of the night.”

Winner Kristen Dalton’s title, London’s Daily Mail reports, comes with a year’s use of a New York apartment, a public relations team, a two-year scholarship at the New York Film Academy and an undisclosed salary. Dalton will also compete in the Miss Universe pageant in August.

If, for any reason, Dalton should be unable to perform her duties as Miss USA, Prejean would be the first in line to fulfill the role ambassador-like responsibilities of the pageant’s winner.