SAN DIEGO , May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- "On April 19 , I chose to answer a question during the 2009 Miss USA pageant in an honest and personal manner that expressed my views of the long-established definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. That answer, and my commitment to stand by my beliefs, has since resulted in attacks on me and my integrity as a woman. We live in a great country; a nation that was built on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Yet my comments defending traditional marriage have led to intimidation tactics that seek to undermine my reputation and somehow silence me and my beliefs, as if opinion is only a one-way street.
"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith. I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be. But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive. While we may not agree on every issue, we should show respect for others' opinions and not try to silence them through vicious and mean-spirited attacks.
"With that in mind, I will continue to support and defend marriage as the honorable institution it is. I will continue to stand with the overwhelming majority of the American people and the voters of my home state of California . If this whole experience has taught me anything, it is our precious right to speak freely, and how we as Americans can never allow anyone or any group to intimidate or threaten us to keep silent. "
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