The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Has a Scholarship Competition Turned Political?

with 2 comments

If anyone in West Virginia is interested in the recently concluded Miss USA 2009 contest, it is likely because of Cabell County native Jessi Pierson being crowned, “Miss Photogenic” and “Miss Congeniality.”  

But, the dominating story is not Ms. Pierson, West Virginia, or the value of the Miss USA scholarship.  And, while we admittedly have had little interest in the competition (and wouldn’t have even known it had occurred had it not been for our careful monitoring of the news), our interest was piqued by the answer of Miss California and the antics of Perez Hilton.

For those who got a “D” in Pop Culture 101 and think we may be misspelling the hotel heiress’ name, Perez Hilton is the author of a pop-culture blog of the same name.  He deals mainly in celebrity gossip, Hollywood intrigues, and mostly things West Virginians have very little cause for concern.  Mr. Hilton also lives an openly homosexual lifestyle.  And, more to the point, Mr. Hilton was asked to be a judge for the Miss USA contest.

Now, our “C+” in Pop Culture 101 says that we know enough about the Miss USA contest to know that at some point, the contestants are asked some questions.  Their answers are judged along with their talent and, well, that’s about all we know about the Miss USA competition.  

So, why is the blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia bothering to talk about Miss USA and Perez Hilton?  Because of Judge Hilton’s question to Miss California at the end of last night’s competition.  Actually, it was not so much his question as her answer that has received the attention.  Mr. Hilton asked whether Miss California believed in same-sex “marriage.”  Her answer?  According to

When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think 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.” 

We find this whole episode entirely intriguing.  First, the resulting controversy has been that politics was inserted into a beauty pageant.  Yet, the complaint about politics was lodged against Miss California and not Perez Hilton.  A contestant gives the proper definition of marriage – as settled by the voters of the state she represents and supported by an overwhelming number of Americans – and she is castigated for inserting politics into a pageant.  Hilton is given a pass.  Most pundits credit this answer for the loss of her crown (which is notable in and of itself), but the controversy-inducing Hilton is painted the hero.  Odd.

Second, let’s face it, the stereotype (not that we condone such stereotypes) is that beauty pageant contestants aren’t always . . . how to put it . . . well-read.  But, Miss California gives a simple, convincing answer filled with timeless Truth that speaks volumes about her personal conviction and, in this day and age, personal bravery.  The easy solution for Miss California would have been to toe the politically correct line in front of a watching world, win her crown and scholarship, and move on.  But, this would have compromised her conviction – not to mention upbringing.  For that, she undoubtedly deserves a crown of a different sort.

Third, though Mr. Hilton has lashed out on his blog today and on You Tube calling Miss California “a dumb *****” and explaining that she lost because of the poorly worded answer that dodged the question, Miss California nailed it.  Mr. Hilton’s question asked whether “every state” should follow California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in legalizing same-sex “marriage.”  According to Hilton, he was looking for an answer that would have said it was a state’s rights issue.  To him, her answer missed that.  But, did it?  

Her immediate answer was to say, “I think it’s great that Americans can choose one or the other.  We live in a land where you can choose same-sex “marriage” or opposite.”  This is what we hear:  It’s the people’s right to decide the definition of marriage.  In this, Miss California would likely agree with the 94% of West Virginians that believe voters – not judges or politicians – should decide the definition of marriage in West Virginia.  We find it appalling that Mr. Hilton would deride such a democratic answer.  We don’t find it surprising, however.

Finally, that she cites her family upbringing as the source for this conviction is likewise telling.  While it may be “en vogue” to appear as all things to all people, this young woman reflects the care and concern of a family who was willing to teach what is right and what is wrong and how to know the difference.  Moreover, she reflects the boldness the comes from a family that has discussed difficult topics, wrestled with a proper responses to tough issues, and come away with simple wisdom and steely conviction.  It is in the core unit of the family that we learn our worldview so that whenever we arrive at the whatever world-stage is set in front of us, the natural, effortless thing to do is to simply default to what we learned around the kitchen table, on our grandfather’s knee, or during family devotions.   

We applaud Miss Calfornia, Carrie Prejean, for her courageous answer.  And, we note to those elected officials who want desperately to be able to have it both ways (and therefore appease no one) the courage of a beauty queen.  

For how you might be involved in defending marriage in West Virginia, go to, a project of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

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Written by Jeremy Dys

April 20, 2009 at 7:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I fully support Miss CA. As Americans living in America we have the freedom to have opinions and beliefs. We are aloud to practice our religion without persecution. I think this country is shifting dramatically away from this and that makes me nervous. Whether you agree with Gay marriage or not respect her opinion and agree that honesty is the best policy not being a follower. There are a lot of people with opinions different from mine and I respect them and try to see their point of view. If the Gay community ever wants to be accepted they really need to start looking at their tactics because so far I am losing respect for the Gay community as a whole.


    April 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm

  2. Asking a question about same sex marriage at a Miss America pageant is totally inappropriate, bad form, just like Perez Hilton


    April 24, 2009 at 1:30 am

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