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Former Miss America Deidre Downs Gunn has married her girlfriend in Alabama

Claire Toureille April 18, 2018

LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 21: Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs takes her last walk as Miss America during the 2006 Miss America Pageant at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts January 21, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the first time the annual pageant has been held outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey in its 85-year history. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Lesbian former Miss America winner Deidre Downs Gunn has tied the knot with her partner Abbott Jones.

The couple got married at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama in front if 200 guests on Saturday. The theme of the ceremony was modern Southern romance, reports People magazine.

Downs Gunn told People her favourite part of the ceremony was the exchange of vows.

“Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me,” she said.

“I feel overjoyed to have found someone to share life’s adventures,” Downs Gunn told People. “The wedding was beautiful and special, but it was really just the beginning of our life together. I’m so lucky to have a wife who fills even small, everyday moments with great joy.”

Downs Gunn was previously married to Andrew Gunn, with whom she has an eight-year-old son. 

Downs Gunn met Jones, an attorney and writer, online in February 2017, and it didn’t take her long to realise she was the one.

The former beauty queen proposed to her spouse at Christmas, after the pair had just watched the Christmas special of Doctor Who, the British sci-fi drama. Downs Gunn had put together a video highlighting the couples’ happiest moments.

Jones followed up by a proposal of her own, asking asked Downs Gunn’s son for his approval. The boy said it was “cool,” and with his help, Abbott recreated her and Downs Gunn’s first date using Lego.

Jamilex puts the crown on Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs during a visit with foster children from Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families during a luncheon at Planet Hollywood September 21, 2004 in New York City. (Paul Hawthorne/Getty)

After winning the Miss America title in 2004, Downs Gunn enrolled at the University of Alabama (UAB) School of Medicine, where she studied obstetrics. Now 37, she works as obstetrician-gynecologist specialising in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, according to People.

The news of Downs Gunn’s wedding comes two years after Erin O’Flaherty became the first openly-lesbian woman to compete in the Miss America pageant as Miss Missouri.

“I have the opportunity to serve as a reference point for LGBT youth where none other exists,” O’Flaherty told The Huffington Post before the 2016 Miss America competition.

“When I was coming into my own and identifying as a feminine lesbian, I struggled to find role models who I perceived to be ‘like me.’ I hope that I can serve as that reference point for other LGBT youth who are struggling with their identity. This is not just an issue of diversity, but saving lives. LGBT youth are up to eight times more likely to attempt suicide as compared to their heterosexual peers if they come from an unaccepting environment. I hope that my presence can give others hope.”

More: LGBT, miss america, same sex marriage

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