Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became the bombshell of the Miss USA pageant by saying gay couples should not be allowed to marry, said her state sponsors urged her to apologise afterward but she rejected the advice.
Ms Prejean, 21, said officials from the Miss California USA pageant were worried that her comments would cost their contest financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing her religious beliefs.
“’You need to apologise to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand’,” Ms Prejean recalled being told.
“I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California.”
She offered her version of the tense hours following the April 19 Miss USA pageant while appearing at the San Diego megachurch that has helped shape her views.
The Rock Church, founded by former San Diego Chargers defensive back Miles McPherson, was active in the campaign to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriages in California last year.
Ms Prejean, who was named first runner-up to Miss North Carolina and will remain Miss California until November, has spent the last week defending her comments, made during the pageant’s final round.
They came in response to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton’s question about legalising same-sex marriage.
“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,” she said. “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 offence to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”
Hilton, who is gay, stoked the 30-second exchange the next day when he cursed the beauty queen on his blog and suggested her response may have cost Ms Prejean the Miss USA crown.
The San Diego Christian College junior, model and member of the San Diego Padres Pad Squad received a heroine’s welcome from fellow members of the Rock, where she was the guest of honour at morning services.