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Miss Yucca Valley Vs. Prop 8 Donor

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The dynamic relationship between beauty pageants and marriage equality continues to evolve as a former Miss Yucca Valley claims that she was stripped of her title because she complained that a pageant venue supported Proposition 8.

According to the Hi-Desert Star, "Maya Rupert claims she was stripped of her title because she told pageant organizer Sheldon Hough she thought using a venue that campaigned for Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex marriages in California, might discourage lesbians or transgender girls from participating in the scholarship event."

Rupert, a Los Angeles attorney who won the Miss Yucca Valley title in 1998, took issue in late August with the Christian host site of Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel and school. However, she said she never requested to be disaffiliated entirely with the pageant, contrary to what Hough believes.

"Hough, who took over coordination of the pageant the year after Rupert was crowned Miss Yucca Valley, confirmed that Rupert's name was removed from his website, but stated the action was taken at Rupert's request," reported the Hi-Desert Star.

The Yucca Valley Rotary Club has sponsored the scholarship pageant since 1999. The club moved the pageant to a facility at the Joshua Springs Christian School from a public high school in 2001, citing better space and amenities, and lower cost.

The Rotary Club said it still recognized Rupert as the 1998 winner, and that it regretted any misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, the young women who currently make up the Miss Yucca Valley court downplayed any religion influence on the competition, and expressed consensus that an openly lesbian contestant could win.

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