Miss California takes on gay marriage

I cannot remember the last time I watched a minute of a beauty pageant. I never had much of an interest in the first place, even when watching them with my family as a kid. The contestants were sparkly and had nice teeth. Some of them could sing, but I didn’t care much for the songs they sang. Mainly, we watched so we could pull for Miss North Carolina, and because in the early 1970s there were only two other channels to choose from, and programming on Saturday nights was pretty sad. It was Miss America, or the Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour variety show.

One thing I do not remember is the contestants being asked for their views on hot button political topics of the day. I certainly stand to be corrected by our resident pageant historians, but I simply cannot remember Miss Maine weighing in on Roe versus Wade, or Miss Idaho giving us her views on the SALT Treaty. I do remember that, regardless of the question, the contestants were all in favor of working to make this a better world, and this was the gist of every answer to any question. I guess we should have been heartened to think that 50 pretty young women should be so committed to working for world peace in a turbulent, complicated world.

I never expected to see another pageant, but due to a combination of completely random events, I ended up watching the last segment of the Miss America pageant a couple of weeks ago, partially because we were channel surfing, stumbled upon the pageant, and then realized that Miss North Carolina had made it to the final five. Soon, my wife and I were comparing stories about watching the pageant when we were kids.

We watched them in their sparkly evening gowns, and then came the questions. “This should be interesting,” I said.

Some minor Internet celebrity named Perez Hilton (what, they couldn’t get Rerun from “What’s Happening!!”) asked Miss California for her thoughts on gay marriage. She began to answer as if she were going to delicately sidestep the question and come out in favor of working for the betterment of the world before finally taking a stand that marriage, in her view, was between a man and a woman.

She made it to the final two, before ultimately losing out to Miss North Carolina. The next day she said that she felt her answer cost her the pageant. She appears to feel this way because Hilton is evidently gay and because we live in a time of rampant political correctness, in which the liberal elite media has pushed its agenda so far as to infiltrate the Miss America pageant! What’s next, Keith Olbermann promoting the movie “Milk” on a box of Corn Flakes? Where will it end?

Miss California might be consoled that gay marriage is still illegal in all but three states and is not recognized by the federal government. If it is true that political correctness has put people in the uncomfortable position of disguising their bigotry in the familiar garb of “family values,” it is also true that this same bigotry is very much still in force. In the 2008 election, voters in California, Florida, and Arizona overwhelmingly voted to ban same-sex marriages.

Now, Miss California has gone to Washington, where she will become a spokesperson — or, “spokesman,” since I wouldn’t want to indulge here in unseemly political correctness in identifying her as a person — for a group called the National Organization for Marriage. They are fighting “to protect traditional marriages.”

Well, when it comes to hard hitting journalism, I’m no Perez Hilton, but I do have a question for Miss California and anyone else who sees gay marriage as a threat to traditional marriage: Isn’t divorce a bigger threat?

If the conventional wisdom that half of the marriages in our country will end in divorce is true, isn’t divorce a much bigger threat to traditional marriage than if some same-sex couple down the street gets married? I’m in a traditional marriage, and I do not understand how anyone else’s marriage — gay or straight — is a threat to mine. The main threat to my marriage is forgetting my wife’s anniversary, or making one too many comments on how nice Miss North Carolina looks in her dark blue sequins.

Now, before folks go lunging for their laptops to send me quotes from Leviticus proving that gay marriage should be banned on biblical principles, please remember to show us where Jesus is quoted on the issue of gay marriage, and then explain why divorce is legal, since Jesus actually is quoted more than once on that issue.

Moreover, when can we expect groups to spring up in favor of putting to death all those work on the Sabbath, a sanction that is clearly spelled out in Exodus? If my son is disobedient, should I heed the words of Deuteronomy and have him stoned to death? When will we see groups boycotting Red Lobster because hardened sinners are inside eating shrimp or crab legs with no regard at all for Leviticus, which forbids us to eat shellfish? How can we stand idly by every fall when weekends are so cluttered with people touching the skin of dead pigs? Leviticus calls it an abomination. We call it football.

If we are going to base all our laws on the Old Testament, we had better get after it. When Miss California gets back from Washington, she’s got her work cut out for her.

(Chris Cox is a writer and teacher who lives in Waynesville. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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