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What criticism she has received from gay-rights groups centers largely on the substance of her answer.

When she says, “You can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,” she’s wrong, said Kelley Moran, national director of Yes on Gay Marriage in Sacramento, Calif. “She stated that we can choose same-sex marriage, and in fact we do not have that right.”

While she has “the right to her opinion,” Mr. Moran said, Miss Prejean is “definitely out of step with the majority in her age group.”

“The culture is moving toward gay marriage, and it’s just a matter of time if you look at polling in the different age groups in our society,” he said.

Most polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, while a majority of those younger than 25 support it. Four states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont - have legalized same-sex marriage, while 30, including California, have passed state constitutional amendments that define marriage as a union of one man and one woman and 14 more define marriage that way by statute.

Despite public support, Miss Prejean said, officials at the Miss California pageant have all but abandoned her after she refused to apologize to advocates of same-sex marriage.

Miss Prejean told worshippers Sunday at the Rock Church that pageant organizers told her that “you need to apologize 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.”

But, she told the church, her answer on gay marriage “was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California.”

She received a standing ovation from the congregation, Mr. McPherson said.

Efforts to leave messages at K2 Productions, which runs the Miss California pageant, were unsuccessful because the company’s mailbox was full.

But Keith Lewis, K2’s co-executive director, said in a statement that “I support Carrie’s right to express her personal beliefs even if they do not coincide with my own. I believe the subject of gay marriage deserves a great deal more conversation in order to heal the divide it has created.”

Miss Prejean has since signed with an independent public relations firm, A. Larry Ross Communications, which specializes in religious clients and “Christian-focused communications.” This week, she is making at least two appearances related to promoting traditional marriage.

On Wednesday, she is scheduled to visit Liberty University, a Baptist college in Lynchburg, for a question-and-answer session with the chancellor. She follows that with an appearance at the National Press Club on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage during an announcement for the launch of a traditional-marriage ad campaign.

“What we need are people who are willing to stand up and have a spine, and she does,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage. “A lot of people like Perez Hilton want to punish us, and she refuses to be cowed.”

Miss Prejean, who told The Times she was “appalled” by Mr. Lavandeira’s remarks, called on him to show the same respect for her views that he demands for his own.

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