Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday on her use of the term “sexual preference” during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, instead of the politically correct term “sexual orientation.”
The term “preference” implies a degree of choice, whereas current intellectual orthodoxy in the LGBTQ community considers sexuality and gender identity to be inherent.
Earlier, Barrett had used the term “sexual preference” — a rather common term until recently — and Slate.com called it an “anti-gay dog whistle to the religious right.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) had criticized Barrett’s use of the term:
Senator Hirono going after Judge Barrett for her language on LGBTQ rights: Sexual preference is an offense and outdated term and I don’t think you using it was an accident. Sexual orientation is a key part of people’s lives.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 13, 2020
Booker began by commenting on Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, before asking Barrett about the issue.
The following exchange occurred:
Booker: I wanted to offer you a further opportunity to address the issue that I don’t think you got to fully address, that my colleague brought up. When you did use the term “sexual preference” earlier today, rather than “sexual orientation” — is there a difference, and what is it?
Barrett: Senator, I really — In using that word, I did not mean to imply that I think that, you know, that i’s not a matter of — that it is not an immutable characteristic, or that it’s solely a matter of preference. I honestly did not mean any offense, or to make any statement by that.
Booker: But by what you just said, you understand about that immutable characteristic. That in other words, that one’s sexuality is not a preference, it is who they are. Is that what you’re saying?
Barrett: Senator, I’m saying I was not trying to make any comment on it. I fully respect all the rights of the LGBT community. Obergefell is an important precedent of the court. I reject any kind of discrimination on any sort of basis.
Booker went on to try to ask Barrett about the views of Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. She declined to answer on their behalf.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.