It’s only the second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett, but accusations of extreme prejudice are already being leveled against her.
Earlier in the day, Barrett used the term ‘sexual preference’ while answering a question from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. Like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent,” Barrett said.
Another Democratic Senator, Mazie Hirono, seized on Barrett’s comments – chastising the nominee’s statement, and rebuking it as offensive.
“Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not,” Hirono said. “Sexual orientation is a key part of a person’s identity.”
Hirono went on to suggest that she did not think it was an “accident” that Barrett used the term, alluding to Barrett’s religious beliefs as playing a role in her usage of the phrase.
It should be noted that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg frequently used the term ‘sexual preference’ when discussing matters related to sexuality. The current Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, also used the term ‘sexual preference’ earlier this year while discussing LGBTQ issues.
Still, following Senator Hirono’s harsh allegations of anti-LGBTQ bias, Webster’s Dictionary immediately updated its definition of the word ‘preference’ to match the senator’s personal definition.
Just last month, Webster’s Dictionary did not define the term ‘preference’ to have any negative or offensive connotations. Following the exchange during the hearing, the popular dictionary has changed the definition to note the term is offensive.
The definition of the word ‘preference’ in September 2020:
The updated definition of the word ‘preference’ following Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing:
Amy Coney Barrett apologized for using the term during the hearing, saying “I certainly didn’t mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community,” Barrett said. “If I did, I greatly apologize for that.”