Big, gay snowball
Does it matter that Donald Trump announced last week that Miss California, a winsome young lady by the name of Carrie Prejean, will be allowed to keep her crown after a month’s worth of tribulations? Normally we wouldn’t care much about Trump unless we were looking for a punchline to a bad hair joke, and our opinion of the big-time pageant circuit usually does not find a place here in the Voices pages. But Prejean made big news — first, for taking a stand for man-woman marriage while answering a question in the interview segment of the Miss USA Pageant (asked, hilariously, by annoying gay man Perez Hilton). Then she complained that her answer had unjustly cost her the title of Miss USA (she eventually was named first runner-up) while simultaneously leveraging her newfound fame to gain a foothold among the Christian family-values set. Last week, in a radio interview with Focus on Family founder James Dobson, she framed the moment in Manichaean terms: “I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question,” she said. This happened at about the same time as topless photos of the former model hit the internet.
Yes, yes, we’re all suitably outraged that a beauty queen expressed her honest views about marriage and posed for some hot photos. Meanwhile, Maine became the fifth state to ratify gay marriage, which is way more important than the opinion of Miss California, who herself has never been married. You can already get gay married in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Maine and Vermont go online in September. Last week New York State Assembly passed legislation introduced by the governor; the Senate majority leader plans to bring it for a vote when he can muster enough support. In New Hampshire, both the House and Senate have passed a gay marriage bill and it awaits ratification by the governor. Washington State, which has already recognized domestic partnerships, is halfway there. The New Jersey legislature is considering debate on the subject. And proponents of same-sex marriage have not given up the cause in California, where in 2008 voters passed Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The point is that it’s happening, proving once again that it’s incredibly difficult — but not impossible — to take away people’s civil rights through legislation, no matter what Miss California, or, for that matter, the president, says. But as a states’ rights issue, marriage is different than, say, the speed limit. You can cruise through North Carolina at 70 mph and the drop down to 65 once you cross the Virginia border. But as it stands, if you and your same-sex partner come down from Boston for a weekend in Baltimore and one of you landed in an intensive care unit, the other still would not be able to visit.
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We’re all suitably outraged that a beauty queen expressed her honest views about marriage and posed for some hot photos.