The prestigious Miss USA contest turned ugly after a gay marriage question by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton sparked outrage from the audience and "ugly" fights outside.
Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton took out the crown, beating 50 other beauties in the pageant which was televised live from Las Vegas earlier today.
But runner-up Miss California Carrie Prejean garnered most of the attention after her answer to a question about legalising same sex marriage.
Gossip guru Hilton asked Ms Prejean: "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalise same-sex marriage … do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?" She replied: "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage."
"And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.
"No offence to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."
Some of the audience cheered while others booed.
Others argued in the lobby, the Daily Telegraph reports.
"It's ugly," gay man Scott Ihrig was quoted as saying.
"I think it's ridiculous that she got first runner-up.
"That is not the value of 95 percent of the people in this audience.
"Look around this audience and tell me how many gay men there are."
Charmaine Koonce, the mother of Miss New Mexico USA Bianca Carla, disagreed, saying: "In the Bible it says marriage is between Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."
It is the second time this month that the pageant has been hit with controversy after Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza posted a blog entry about a trip to Guantanamo Bay.
Ms Mendoza described the trip to the infamous prison as "aloooot of fun".
The blog entry was later pulled from the Miss USA website.