Former Miss America Deidre Downs Gunn has married her girlfriend in Alabama
Lesbian former Miss America winner Deidre Downs Gunn has tied the knot with her partner Abbott Jones.
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.
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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.
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.”