2009-07-24 / Community
Dethroned beauty queen to speak to GOP youth in Simi
Stance on gay marriage, her racy teen photos have kept model in headlines
Carrie Prejean, the blonde beauty queen who grabbed national attention after her controversial remarks on gay marriage at the 2009 Miss USA pageant, will come to Simi Valley next month to speak at the Young Republican Federation of California convention.
The 22-year-old San Diego native is scheduled to deliver the keynote address during a dinner banquet Sat., Aug. 15. Ventura County Young Republicans (VCYR) is hosting the event.
Convention chair Danielle White, 24, said the former Miss California was chosen to speak because the majority of the county's young GOP voters— those between the ages of 18 and 28—can relate to her.
"Carrie's 22; she's really one of us," said White, who's been a member of VCYR since February. "She's a new face in the movement, and the Republican Party is looking for new people. We really think that having someone that is one of our peers will get everyone energized and excited, and hopefully she'll have some wisdom for us."
White said the political organization had been talking about having Prejean speak at the convention since April but that it was difficult to get a hold of the pageant winner. That is, until she lost her crown.
Prejean sparked controversy when, during the questionandanswer portion of the Miss USA competition in April, celebrity blogger and pageant judge Perez Hilton asked Prejean her views on same-sex marriage.
Prejean replied that she believed only a man and a woman should be allowed to wed.
The controversy continued when topless photos of Prejean surfaced on the Internet.
According to reports, she was 17 at the time some of the photos were taken.
Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe organization, decided in May to let Prejean keep her California crown, but a month later she was fired for breach of contract issues, including not making appearances at Miss California USA events.
White said VCYR is not trying to make a statement on same-sex marriage by inviting Prejean to speak but rather wants to hear Prejean's side of the story and how her faith informs her life.
"As an organization, we don't have an official stance on gay marriage. There are obviously going to be some people in the party, like there is in the state, who agree with her," White said. "By bringing her here, we're not trying to say this is what Ventura County Young Republicans believe. . . . We're just bringing her here to hear why she believes what she does."
The 2009 convention will take place Aug. 14 through 16. The dinner banquet will be at 6:30 p.m. Sat., Aug. 15 at the Grand Vista hotel in Simi.
Tickets are available to the public and cost $50.
Membership in Ventura County Young Republicans is open to all registered county Republicans under the age of 40. The organization holds regular meetings and mixers and works to elect local GOP candidates to political office.
For more information about the convention or to purchase tickets for the banquet, visit www.yrfc2009.com.