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by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Miss USA brouhaha, media orgy
Either it is a nonstory that "the media" made into a huge story. Or the U.S. Gay world hit some kind of tipping point, and it's no longer possible to "get away" with saying anti-Gay things in many arenas - just as one can't get away with saying sexist or racist things.

At the Miss USA pageant April 19, judge Perez Hilton, the Gay blogger, asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, this question: "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?"

Prejean responded: "Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. Um, we live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and - you know what? - in my country and 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 and that's how I think that it should be: between a man and a woman. Thank you."

In reality, Americans can choose same-sex marriage only in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and, starting September 1, Vermont. One would think Miss California might remember that tiny little battle over Proposition 8, but whatever.

Prejean, who came in first runner-up, later said, "At that moment after I'd answered the question, I knew that I was not going to win because of my answer."

Subsequent reporting revealed she apparently is right about that, which suggests that having "correct" Gay positions has become more important than many of us might have assumed.

Yet, in a video blog, Hilton later opined: "She lost not because she doesn't believe in Gay marriage. Miss California lost because she's a dumb bitch. OK? ... If that girl would have won Miss USA, I would have gone up onstage - I shit you not - I would have gone up onstage, snatched that tiara off her head and run out the door."

The boy does have a way with words.

Yet later, Hilton told MSNBC, "I called her the b-word and, hey, I was thinking the c-word, and I didn't say it."

One does not often hear "the c-word," even called just "the c-word," on MSNBC.

At any rate, Hilton appears to believe there is a way for a Miss USA contestant to oppose Gay marriage - but that would be some way other than the way Prejean did it.

All of this resulted in so many media stories that Google News probably had to add server capacity. But the interesting question, actually, is: Was this a Gay tipping point? All Prejean did - albeit not particularly articulately - was say that she believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Fifty-two percent of California voters think that, too. Or at least they did as of last November 4.

But then there was Iowa. And Vermont. And 8 million media stories and TV things. The bottom line, I guess: If Miss USA can't dis the Gays and get away with it, then there probably now are many, many arenas in which one can't dis the Gays and get away with it.

If that's true, a "tipping point" is probably exactly what we observed, and the orgy of media coverage may have been (sigh) warranted.

New Yorkers support Gay marriage
Fifty-three percent of New York state residents support legalization of same-sex marriage and 39 percent oppose it, according to a Siena Research poll.

Gov. David Paterson introduced a bill in the Legislature April 16 to legalize same-sex marriage.

The strongest support comes from women, Democrats, independent voters and young people. More opposed are older people, men, Republicans, Protestants, Latinos and blacks.

The poll quizzed 682 voters and had an error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Paterson's bill should pass the Assembly easily, as an identical one did in 2007, but its prospects in the Senate, where its twin died in 2007, remain uncertain.

"We have a crisis of leadership today," Paterson said in introducing the measure. "We're going to fill that vacuum today. Gay and Lesbian New Yorkers ... have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against them."

"For too long, the Gay and Lesbian community have been told that their rights and freedoms have to wait," he said. "The time has come to act."

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and (starting September 1) Vermont. New York State already recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who marry elsewhere.

Gay couples also can marry in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.

"Dr. Laura" sings a new tune
"Dr. Laura" Schlessinger is now in support of same-sex unions as long as they're not called "marriage."

Speaking to CNN's Larry King on April 8, she said: "I am very big on human beings finding love, attachment and commitment and being faithful to it, because there's more to benefit when there is real true commitment and faithfulness to it. I still believe ... that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman. So not calling it marriage works for me. But that two people would have that sort of commitment to me is very healthy and very positive thing in their lives and society as a whole. ... That's [same-sex relationships] a beautiful thing and a healthy thing."

In 2000, Gays campaigned relentlessly against Schlessinger's radio and TV shows, convincing some 150 advertisers to bail from the programs. They quoted Schlessinger as having called Gays "aberrant," "deviant," "disordered" and a "biological error."

The campaign ended in January 2001, with StopDrLaura.com co-organizer John Aravosis saying: "Dr. Laura TV has been banished to the wee morning hours in all the top 10 markets, her ratings are abysmal, and she can get few advertisers any better than that lady with the tarot cards. Face it, folks, we all came together and we stopped Dr. Laura."

With assistance from Bill Kelley
picture top: Dr Laura
bottom: Perez and Miss USA

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