- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono and Cory Booker scolded Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett for using the term “sexual preference” during her confirmation hearings Tuesday, even though Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden used the same term just months ago.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Mrs. Hirono criticized Judge Barrett for twice using the term “sexual preference” while discussing Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent of the 2015 landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, which legalized same-sex marriage.

“Not once, but twice you used the term ‘sexual preference’ to describe those in the LGBTQ community,” the Hawaii senator said. “And let me make clear, ‘sexual preference’ is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by the anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not.

“So if it is your view that sexual orientation is merely a ‘preference,’ as you noted, then the LGBTQ community should be rightly concerned whether you would uphold their constitutional right to marry,” she said, adding that she believed the judge’s use of the term was deliberate.

Judge Barrett responded, “I certainly didn’t mean and, you know, would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community. So if I did, I greatly apologize for that.”

Mr. Booker later asked Judge Barrett to clarify.

“When you did use the term ‘sexual preference’ earlier today, rather than ‘sexual orientation,’ is there a difference, and what is it?” the New Jersey senator asked.

Judge Barrett responded, “In using that word, I did not mean to imply that I think that, you know, that it’s 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.”

The exchange caught the attention of the President Trump’s reelection campaign, which tweeted a clip of Mr. Biden using the term during a virtual campaign event in May.

“I’m going to need you if we win,” Biden said at the time, Fox News reported. “I’m going to need you to help this time rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class, but this time bring everybody along regardless of color, sexual preference, their backgrounds … Just bring everybody along. We can do this. We can, and I think the country’s ready.”

The Washington Free Beacon took it a step further and created a supercut of multiple Democratic lawmakers using the term, including the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself, whose seat Judge Barrett is expected to fill.

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