ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is defending Miss California USA Carrie Prejean.

The former vice presidential candidate says in a statement, “The liberal onslaught of malicious attacks against Carrie Prejean for expressing her opinion is despicable.”

Prejean created a stir at last month’s Miss USA pageant when she said marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Questions about her work with gay marriage opponents and nearly nude photos taken of her when she was a teenager had put her title in jeopardy, but pageant owner Donald Trump decided to let Prejean keep her state crown.

Palin says she respects Prejean for staying true to her beliefs and can relate to her “as a liberal target myself.”

Palin was a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest.

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