Let me tell you a fairy tale. Once upon a time, a gorgeous blond California girl -- let's call her "Carrie" -- wanted to be a beauty queen.
Asked about gay marriage, "Carrie" blurted out her truth: "I believe all Americans should enjoy equal rights to get married whether it is same-sex or opposite marriage. That's the way I was raised, and that's the way I think marriage should be."
Afterward, a judge proclaimed her answer so offensive he voted against her and wanted to rip off her tiara. Instead of rebuking the judge, pageant officials said that "Carrie" needs to meet anti-gay marriage folk to assuage the "hurt" she has caused them. A media firestorm ensued.
"Carrie" explains to the press that her Christian faith taught her that gay marriage was right. She even appears at a press conference with the Human Rights Campaign, which some said violated her contractual obligations.
Roll back the tape. What would that alternate Carrie's life be like right now?
Carrie Prejean is right.
She has made many mistakes in her young life, including some that Catholics like me would call sins. But when I was 22 years old, Carrie's age, I had a child out of wedlock.
I hope young women watching learn something from Carrie's ordeal; ideally something like: Don't have sex with men who aren't willing to marry you. But if that is too elevated an ideal, try this one: Girls, don't send any pic to your boyfriend you don't want your mom or Matt Lauer to see.
An embarrassed Carrie wasn't fully truthful about her private and personal life, which ended up making things more difficult for her. (Could any of those folks who defended Bill Clinton's right to commit perjury about sex please step up and say a kind word or two for Carrie?)
But fundamentally, Carrie is right: None of this spectacle would be happening to her if she had submitted instead of speaking truth to Hollywood power.
The hatred she has generated is inexplicable and ugly. The people who are intent on sexually shaming Carrie have no shame themselves. Admittedly, I am getting kind of old. But in my old-fashioned view, boyfriends who release personal information on ex-girlfriends for money and/or to embarrass them are scum. I don't understand the newsworthiness of these allegations.
Seven million Californians voted for Prop 8. Quite a few of them are people who committed sexual sins of various kinds. Why is this one 22-year-old girl carrying the whole weight of that on her young shoulders?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.