May 16, 2009

Miss USA says Miss Calif. a pageant boost

New Miss USA Kristen Dalton says the recent controversy surrounding Miss California Carrie Prejean has helped the Miss Universe Organization.

The 2009 Miss USA Pageant winner said the media fallout from Prejean's pageant comment against same-sex marriage will likely mean increased ratings for the annual fashion event in 2010, E! Online reported Friday.

I really think that it's great for the Miss Universe Organization, because it's given us a lot of publicity, Dalton said. And there's gonna be a lot of people watching this Miss USA pageant next year.

Dalton also defended Prejean's right to voice her opinions in such a public forum, while also clarifying her own position on gay marriage.

Everybody has the right to vocalize their own opinion, Dalton said. Me personally -- I think that everybody deserves equal rights, it's really as simple as that.

E! Online said Prejean was allowed to keep her Miss California crown despite her comment and the recent release of topless lingerie photographs she posed for when she was only 17.