Monday, April 27, 2009

Miss North Carolina, Now Miss USA, Stands Up for Equal Rights

You may have already heard about the brouhaha over the gay marriage question at the 2009 Miss USA pageant last week. Miss California chose to be asked a question by one of the judges – noted celebri-gay Perez Hilton – and it was about same-sex marriage.

To recap, Hilton's question was, “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?”

Miss California answered “Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, 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. Thank you very much.”

Long story short, she lost to Miss North Carolina, Kristen Dalton. This question and her answer were credited with her defeat, and she was called a homophobe, among many other things, and has since presented herself as a victim of intolerance towards Christians.

No doubt 50 years ago, we would've had a Miss KKKalifornia stumble over a similar question about interracial marriage and affirm a personal believe against miscegenation. Bigotry is bigotry is bigotry.

Anyway, folks may not have heard how Miss North Carolina, the winner of the 2009 Miss USA contest, responded when asked about the controversy on The Today Show.

She said, “The beautiful thing about America is that we have the right to choose, we have the right to choose what partner we want to love, commit and spend the rest of our lives with. I think that all couples should be able to be recognized legally, and they should be able to enter into a union. Whether or not it should be defined as marriage, I don't know, I'll leave that up to the politicians.”

Whereas Miss California gave a bad answer in a poor way – as we all know, in the vast majority of places in America, gay couples do not have the choice or option of getting married – Miss North Carolina gave not only a thoughtful answer but a deft one. Sure, it wasn't the perfect answer (which would have unquestioningly supported full marriage equality by that name), but I was thrilled to have Miss North Carolina, under the imprimatur of Miss USA, assert the importance of equal rights for all couples.

I've never cared much for these pageants, but I'm definitely now a fan of Ms. Dalton.