• Michelle Hebert

Former Miss America marries same-sex partner in Alabama

On April 14, 2018, former Miss America and Miss Alabama, Deidre Downs, walked down the aisle with Abbott Jones, her same sex partner, at the Birmingham Museum of Art, multiple sources reported. After the event, wedding guests were sworn to secrecy until recently because People magazine had an exclusive agreement that allowed them to announce the news, according to USA Today.

On the Miss America Organization’s Twitter, they tweeted a statement regarding the couple’s wedding: “Congratulations to Miss America 2005 @deidredowns! Wishing you and @abbottjones all the happiness in the world!”

“A Southern-style ceremony,” is how USA Today described the wedding. All together, 200 people enjoyed the Southern food that was served after the wedding: mini chicken and waffles, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and buttermilk biscuits.

The wedding ceremony was conducted by minister Jennifer Sanders, who is an out lesbian. Sanders said the wedding was “beautiful,” and the couple is “a wonderful, happy couple,” and “it was a joy to perform the ceremony.”

The couple wrote a joint statement about their wedding: “When we turned to recess down the aisle after the ceremony and really took notice of all of the family and friends who had gathered to celebrate our marriage, we felt so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support,” an Alabama news station reported.

A number of observers of the wedding saw “it as a breakthrough, a potentially game-changing moment in the fight for gay and lesbians rights in America and in one of the most conservative states in the nation,” NBC News reported.

On their honeymoon to Ireland, Deidre told an Alabama news station, “one of my favorite quotes is by CoCo Chanel: ‘Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.’”