Former Miss USA Shanna Moakler -- who is now the director of the Miss California USA pageant -- says Miss California Carrie Prejean did not lose the crown because of her controversial anti-same sex marriage answer during Sunday's competition.
"She lost the crown because she wasn't able to convey compassion for ALL the people that, as MISS USA, she would be representing," Moakler writes on her Celebrity MySpace blog. "And if YOU like it or not, gays and lesbians make up this country as well. THIS is why we have judges, so they can find the RIGHT woman who obtains these qualities."
Moakler also says she "will not abandon our reigning Miss California" and doesn't "have any issue with her stating her opinion ... I agree with the majority that this IS what makes our country great ... freedom of speech. She was asked a question, and she answered it."
Prejean's "willingness to stand by her convictions ... has, in essence, made a great positive impact because it has brought an issue important to me to the forefront of the media, and that is civil rights," Moakler writes.
She continues, "If anything positive can come out of this, it's that it has people talking, and we need to have people talking, and we need MANY conversations on this topic to take place, especially in the state of California and with [anti-gay initiative] Prop 8."
Before signing off, Moakler apologizes to "the men and woman who have continually supported the Miss California USA pageant. I know some were hurt and felt a sense of betrayal, but I thank you for your understanding, communication, love and continued support."
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