Miss California appears in anti-gay marriage ad

Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:27pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After failing to stop recent gay marriage approvals in several states, opponents have found an attractive, telegenic poster woman in Miss California, a move reminiscent of beauty queen Anita Bryant's 1970s crusade against gay rights.

Miss California, a Christian college student named Carrie Prejean, joined in a television ad campaign against gay marriage this week, upsetting homosexual rights advocates, including a head of the Miss California pageant.

In the commercial from the National Organization for Marriage, Prejean is shown at the Miss USA competition last month where she answered a question about same-sex marriage by saying she opposed it, drawing both boos and cheers and setting off a raucous debate.

After providing that answer, Prejean was named runner-up to Miss USA. She later said her view on marriage cost her the crown.

As gay marriage opponents have rallied around Miss California, they have also lost key battles in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, New Hampshire's Senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and if the governor signs it, the state could become the fifth to legalize gay weddings.

Last month, Iowa became the first Midwest state to allow gay marriage, and Vermont became the first to legalize it through legislative action.

Craig Rimmerman, co-editor of "The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage," said Prejean's rise to prominence comes as gay marriage opponents are on the defensive.   Continued...

<p>Miss California Carrie Prejean (L) responds to a question about gay marriage with Billy Bush (C) and Nadine Velazquez during the Miss USA Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada April 19, 2009. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>