Amy Coney Barrett apologizes after being called out by a Democratic senator for using the 'offensive and outdated' term 'sexual preference' to refer to LGBTQ people

  • Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the president's Supreme Court nominee, apologized for using the widely criticized term "sexual preference" to refer to LGBTQ Americans' sexual orientations. 
  • "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," Barrett said on Tuesday morning. 
  • Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono chastised Barrett during her questioning time in the evening, pointing out that the term is considered offensive and outdated.
  • "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." 
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President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett apologized for using the widely denounced term "sexual preference" to refer to LGBTQ Americans' sexual orientations during her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

Barrett used the term during an exchange with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein earlier in the day. 

"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 about the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono criticized Barrett's comment during her questioning time on Tuesday evening.

"Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term.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."

Barrett suggested that she didn't realize the term was offensive. 

"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." 

LGBTQ-rights groups and others pointed out on Tuesday that the correct term is "sexual orientation" and that anti-LGBTQ advocates often use "preference" to falsely suggest that a person can select their orientation.

"This is a dogwhistle," Lambda Legal, a top LGBTQ-rights legal-advocacy organization, tweeted. "The term 'sexual preference' is used by opponents of equality to suggest that being #LGBTQ is a choice."

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