Newsom gets flack for defending Miss CA

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who wants to be governor, took some flak Thursday from the very group he's famous for supporting. Gay marriage advocates can't believe he actually defended Miss California when she condemned same-sex marriage.

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Newsom is known for the kind of talking points that defend gay marriage. On May 15, 2008 he said in support of same-sex marriage, "It's about human dignity, it's about civil rights, it's about time in California."

However, he didn't come out swinging against Miss California, who was asked during the Miss USA Pageant how she feels about gay marriage.

"In my country and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman," said Miss California contestant Carrie Prejean.

"She spoke her conscience. What more can you ask? I speak my conscience and she should speak hers, so I think that she's been a little unfairly maligned," said Newsom.

Online message boards questioned Newsom's comment and some people in San Francisco said they felt betrayed.

"Miss California represents all of us and I think it's really inappropriate for her to basically discriminate against us in what she said and the mayor is kind of covering her back. That doesn't feel good," said Debra Walker with the Harvey Milk Democratic Society.

Some gay rights advocates are worried about the candidate's political intentions, but some of Newsom's loyal supporters say this is no big deal.

"He's in politics, come on!" said Jorge Colunga.

Political consultant Chris Lehane says the mayor didn't abandon his gay rights stance. He says the only mistake the mayor may have made is miss an opportunity.

"So if I was advising him, if I were serving on his campaign, I would look for every opportunity when I got the gay marriage question to turn it into a huge strength," said Lehane.

It is an issue that will follow him to the governor's race, whether he likes it or not.

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