Do Sex Tapes Matter?

Is it worse for a Republican to have been caught naked on camera or to support gay marriage? Meghan McCain weighs the hypocrisy of the Carrie Prejean scandal.

If you’re a Republican, is it better to be in favor of gay marriage or to make a sex tape? That is the question. At least that’s the question that comes to mind after the reaction to the news that anti-gay marriage champion Carrie Prejean made a sex tape. After watching several of Prejean’s media appearances this week, it was not her incredibly uncomfortable threat to walk out on Larry King that had me most unnerved; it was actually her appearance on Sean Hannity's show. This was Prejean’s first stop on her book publicity tour, and when the sex tape came up, he proceeded to ask her if she was "in love with her boyfriend at the time that she made [it]." I’m sorry, why would being in love matter when it comes to filming yourself in a sexual context?

Carrie Prejean is only 22, after all, and a former Miss California USA, not a politician. And lest we forget, she feels the same way about gay marriage that our own president does.

Frankly, I am sick of all the hypocrisy when it comes to sex and politics in this country—and that goes for all politicians, not just Republicans. Carrie Prejean claims making that tape was “the biggest mistake” of her life—it’s the same one that many other girls have made—but it has since come out that she may have made seven other sex tapes and posed for 30 nude photos.

So I want to send this message to my little sister and other women reading this right now: Making a sex tape is never acceptable. I don't care how in love you are with your boyfriend. Jennifer Lopez made a tape with her then-husband on their honeymoon and she is currently in a lawsuit to prevent it from being released. I am of the mind-set that you should never record anything in private that you wouldn't mind the whole world to see. Because somehow, some day, those images will find their way to the public.

I know I’ve learned my lesson after posting a now-notorious photograph of myself on Twitter—and I had all of my clothes on. So this is not a good message for Sean Hannity to send, that if you were in love with your boyfriend it is OK. These tapes and photographs can ruin your career and your credibility, but it’s the laissez faire attitude toward them that I find so upsetting.

I find it even more disturbing that as long as you oppose gay marriage, filming yourself having sex is taken more lightly. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this kind of thinking? And hypocrisy is something the Republican Party can’t afford to have right now as the GOP struggles to find its identity. As I said, we all make mistakes and I don't want to be too harsh on Carrie Prejean. She is only 22, after all, and a former Miss California USA, not a politician. And lest we forget, she feels the same way about gay marriage that our own president does.

The problem I have with my fellow Republicans is why gay marriage is the trump card in any situation. It seems that as long as you are against gay marriage, any scandal in your life can be overlooked or overcome. When you are in favor of it, however—and I have been very vocal about my support—that position defines you.

Sometimes I wonder if I were against marriage equality, whether it would make it easier for some Republicans to accept my place within this party. I have to constantly remind people of my pro-life, pro-small government stance because the only view that seems to matter is the fact that I believe my gay friends should have the same right to one of our founding ideals—that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights. I think if Republicans truly believe in keeping government out of our lives—that should include not dictating who one can marry.

Many believe that it was Carrie Prejean’s anti-gay marriage views that cost her the Miss USA pageant earlier this year. My question is: When it comes to Republicans, is your position on gay marriage what determines your fate within the party?

Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site