Amanda Lepore and Carrie Prejean

Miss CA Carrie Prejean responds to the question about gay marriage

Carrie Prejean in an ad for the National Organization for Marriage

Antonio Finns in the Sun-Sentinel lauds Miss California Carrie Prejean for “defend[ing] free speech rights just beautifully.” In the Miss America competition,  she showed her support for “opposite” marriage (which we understand as “straight marriage”) and not gay marriage.  She lost the pageant. And since then, the conversation keeps devolving: with claims that she was punished for her honest and free speech, and from the other corner, calls for removal of her Miss California title, and the emergence of photos (see left, with drag queen Amanda Lepore).

Some advice from sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who writes that taking her crown would:

… breathe fresh life into the Miss CA nonsense. … What will get lost as this is reported is the fact that Miss CA is getting the boot, if she gets the boot, for violating her contract with the Miss CA organization, a contract that forbids political campaigning (and posing topless). … If the Miss CA org was smart, they’d deny Carrie the satisfaction—and media/martyr boost she’s looking for—and let her limp through the rest of her “reign” unmolested.

As our brilliant design intern Sonia* pointed out today, on her last day – it seems like “free speech” is being used to muddle the issue. She’s a poor spokesperson for unfettered expression and the Miss America pageant is a weak platform for free speech. We don’t know why she lost the pageant, but we can imagine the political expediency of making Prejean into a victim.

* She illustrated the header for this blog.