April 21, 2009 -- Days after Miss California delivered her controversial answer on gay marriage that she claims cost her the Miss USA crown, Carrie Prejean appears to be straddling the line in the debate, invoking a sister she claims is a "gay rights activist" while defending her "biblically correct" response.
"My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist," Prejean told "Access Hollywood" Monday, 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," she told the entertainment program.
Her statement Monday seemed to contradict her comments Sunday night when she said her family believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Answering judge Perez Hilton's question about gay marriage, Prejean said:"I think it's great Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, 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 there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be, between a man and a woman."
On the "Today Show" this morning, Prejean defended her answer.
"I knew at that moment after I answered the question, I knew, I was not going to win because of my answer, because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs and for my God," she said. "I wouldn't have answered it differently. The way I answered may have been offensive. With that question specifically, it's not about being politically correct. For me it was being biblically correct."
Prejean's reference to her sister's support for gay rights didn't seem to carry much weight with some same-sex marriage advocates.
"I think the punch line is she may be an activist, but she's straight," David Hauslaib, editorial director for Queerty.com told ABCNews.com. "Just because her sister has given Prejean clearance and her blessing, it doesn't mean a thing, because she's not a part of the community affected by the ban.
"While we are glad to have her sister on board with gay rights and civil rights, it does not excuse Miss California's response," Hauslaib added.
Apparently, Prejean's sister was not offended by Prejean's comments Sunday night.
"She was just in my hotel room and she said, 'Sis, I'm not offended by anything that you said. We have two different opinions and I love you because of it. I love you because you stood up for what was right, and it's not a matter of being gay or not gay. It's a matter of you competing for Miss USA and getting a question and answering it to the best of your ability."
Hauslaib questioned whether the world would be hearing from this sister, whose name has not been made public, anytime soon.
"I would be surprised if we see this sister," he said. "The sister is in the armed forces, and we are still in an environment where being pro-gay in the military is controversial. It could have ramifications for her career."
As for Prejean's career, it appears to be taking off despite losing the crown, a fact which has not escaped her.
"I wouldn't be here right now if I were Miss USA," she said on the "Today Show." "I know I have a purpose and I don't take back what I said. I was true to myself. I know now I can go out and speak to young people about standing up about what you believe in and never compromising yourself for anyone or anything, even if it's the crown for Miss USA."
Hauslaib agrees that losing was the best thing for Prejean and the pageant. If the judges had chosen her, he said, it "would have been a tacit endorsement of homophobic values."
And as the first loser, Prejean is the one America is talking about. "Everybody is going to know her name. If anybody is going to do well, it will be Carrie Prejean," Hauslaib said.
Meanwhile, the debate over gay marriage is once again front and center.
Perez Suggests a Better Answer
Celebrity bloggerHilton has been blogging about what he called the "worst answer in pageant history" since the show ended.
In a video blog posted Sunday night, he called Prejean "a dumb b----." He later apologized in the blog, offering to take Prejean out for coffee and a "talk."
"I was floored," Hilton told ABCNews.com Monday. "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."
He also believes her answer cost her the contest because, to his knowledge, no Miss USA contestant has ever been booed during the question-and-answer portion of the show.
"She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that," Hilton said, adding that he's "very happy with whom the judges chose," Miss North Carolina's Kristen Dalton.
Prejean told "Access Hollywood" on Monday that she felt like the winner, even though she came in second place after receiving more than 1,000 messages on Facebook and 2,000 friend requests.
And even though, she believes her answer "did cost me my crown," she told the entertainment show, "I wouldn't have had it any other way. I said what I feel. I stated an opinion that was true to myself and that's all I can do. It is a very touchy subject and he [Perez] is a homosexual and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would've wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything."
Hilton said Prejean could have chosen an answer that he believed would have been less political. When he asked teen singing star Miley Cyrus the same question on Twitter after the show, he was surprised by her response: "I believe that everyone deserves to be happy. That's all I'm saying."
Comparing Cyrus and Prejean, Hilton said, "A 16-year-old gave a better answer. If she [Prejean] had said those two sentences, that would have been a better answer."
On his video blog, he offered another alternate answer. "I would have said, 'Hmm, Perez, that's a great question, that's a very hot topic in our country right now. And I think that's a question that each state should decide for themselves."
He also said what he would have done if Miss California had been crowned the winner.
"I would have gone up on stage -- I s--- you not – and snatched that tiara off her head and run out the door," he said in his video blog. "I would probably have been arrested. But so be it. I need a cocktail now."
Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, released a statement to the media in response to Prejean's answer last night.
"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."
Co-director Shanna Moakler, the 1995 Miss USA, told the media that she fully supported Lewis' statement.