Last night's Miss America pageant took a surprisingly liberal bent after three Southern contestants decried attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, chastised anti-marriage equality Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, and took a swing at Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.
In total, 52 contestants took the stage in Atlantic City to compete for this year's crown, but it was Miss Tennessee, Miss Alabama, and Miss Mississippi who stole the show.
Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts, fielded a question about renegade Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' continued refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. While most opposition to marriage equality has come from southern states, Miss Mississippi came down firmly in favor of gay and lesbian couples. Roberts took first runner-up in the competition (Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell took home the crown).
"[Issuing marriage licenses] absolutely does not violate her religious freedom," she said. "That is her job she was voted into doing. That law is a federal law throughout the rest of the country. So, yes, she did violate the law there."
Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee, was asked about Republican threats to shut down the government if their attempts to ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood are unsuccessful. No federal funds are used to support abortions.
"I don't think Planned Parenthood funding should be cut off," Robison said in response. "The $500 million dollars that gets given to Planned Parenthood every single year goes to female care. It goes for scanning for cancer. It goes for mammograms. And if we don't get that funding to Planned Parenthood, those women will be out of health care for reproductive costs."
Asked about Donald Trump's amazing rise to the top of the Republican presidential field, Miss Alabama, Meg McGuffin, said the GOP should be "absolutely terrified" of the business mogul's reign at the top of the polls.
"I think Donald Trump is an entertainer, and I think he says what's on a lot of peoples' minds," she told judge Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. "But I think the Republican Party should be absolutely terrified of all the attention that he is taking from incredible candidates like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie who could absolutely do the job of president of the United States."
Colorado contestant Kelley Johnson also added to the night's queer theme by saying she would choose Ellen DeGeneres to be the first woman featured on the 10-dollar bill. Johnson cited the lesbian comedian's upbeat style and said DeGeneres' "entire platform is speaking tolerance and equality for all."
The question and answer portion counts for 20 percent of contestants scores and is infamous for the ridiculous and vapid responses from beauty queens. In 2009, former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean rose to national prominence for her response opposing marriage equality. Prejean didn't win the competition and was later stripped of her title as California's top beauty queen.
The Miss USA and Miss America pageants are rival competitions. Miss USA is owned by Donald Trump.
Watch below as the top contestants answer judges' questions during the competition.