Despite feeling like she was unfairly victimized, Prejean said she forgives Hilton and everyone who criticized her following the pageant. Asked to respond to Prejean's statement, Hilton said simply, "She forgives me and I forgive her."
Ahead of the news conference, Prejean's mother, Francine, came out in defense of her daughter, telling the blog MomLogic.com that the beauty queen is "being persecuted for speaking her opinion" about gay marriage. Prejean also told Christian radio host Dr. James Dobson that Satan tried to tempt her with a question about gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant.
Since the question-and-answer session from that pageant that thrust her into the spotlight, Prejean's story has evolved so fast that it's hard to keep track of all the details. This should help clear things up. Below, a timeline of the controversy surrounding Prejean, from the Miss USA 2009 pageant to today.
April 19: Pageant judge Perez Hilton asks Prejean, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not?" Prejean replies, "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. 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."
April 19: Following the pageant, Hilton posted a video on his blog condemning Prejean's answer and calling her a "dumb b****." He later apologized in the blog, offering to take Prejean out for coffee and a "talk."
April 20: Hilton tells ABCNews.com, "I was floored. I haven't said this before, but to her credit, I applaud her for her honesty. However, she is not a politician, she's a hopeful Miss USA. Miss USA should represent everyone. Her answer alienated millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters."
April 20: Prejean defends her comments via multiple media outlets and tells "Access Hollywood" that her sister is a gay activist. "My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist," Prejean says, adding that her sister is not gay. "She supports gay people, she supports gay marriage. My beliefs have nothing to do with my sister or my mom, or whatever."
April 26: Prejean visits churches, including San Diego's The Rock Church, which was active in the campaign to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriages in California last year, to tell her side of the pageant story. She tells The Rock Church's congregation that pageant officials asked her to apologize to the gay community.
April 27: In response to Prejean's comments, Lewis issues a statement saying, "Given the fact that Carrie Prejean's first act upon returning to California was to headline five services at a church that promotes homosexuality as both unnatural and abnormal, we stand by our concern for her individual image and look forward to a time in the near future when she can put down her personal agenda and assume the responsibilities associated with being Miss California USA."