During the second day of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she was asked by Senator Diane Feinstein whether she believed LGBTQ couples have the right to marry.
In her answer, while referring to LGBTQ individuals, Barrett used an outdate term that set many viewers on edge. She said:
"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. You know, like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent."
While she may have been speaking about avoiding discrimination, using the phrase "sexual preference" has long been rejected by the LGBTQ community because it implies their sexuality is a choice.
"Sexual preference," a term used by Justice Barrett, is offensive and outdated. The term implies sexuality is a cho… https://t.co/j2lac8hwI6— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1602598537.0
On Twitter, many of Barrett's critics pointed out the harmfulness of her word choice.
As a gay man, I do not have a "sexual preference" any more than I have a racial preference or an ethnic preference.… https://t.co/y1vuIkPZdd— Ritchie Torres (@Ritchie Torres)1602601527.0
Barrett's language was even called out by Senator Mazie Hirono later in the hearing.
WATCH: Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono attacks Amy Coney Barrett for using the term "sexual preference" https://t.co/o3qh3VTx2g— The Post Millennial (@The Post Millennial)1602623990.0
Shoutout to Sen. Hirono for calling Barrett out for calling sexuality a "sexual preference" as if sexuality is a choice. 🔥— Matt Rogers 🎃 🗳 (@Matt Rogers 🎃 🗳)1602623364.0
Later, Barrett apologized for her use of the phrase, saying it wasn't her intention to be disrespectful.
Judge Barrett said her use of the term “sexual preference” as opposed to sexual orientation wasn’t intended to be d… https://t.co/ljJaSs0YaG— Capital Journal (@Capital Journal)1602628933.0
For many online, however, the damage had already been done.
I know the phrase “sexual preference” was common in the old days, but LGBTQ people almost never use it today, for g… https://t.co/TtzAE18xaO— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern)1602599143.0
The correct term is sexual orientation. "Sexual preference" is a term often used by anti-LGBTQ activists to imply t… https://t.co/TEbAA5GApw— GLAAD (@GLAAD)1602598305.0
When Amy Coney Barrett refers to LGBTQ people with the term "sexual preference", that's intentional and it's doing… https://t.co/pt42veVK19— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1602601358.0
Many felt Barrett's use of the phrase was an indication of the kind of people she associates with.
“Sexual preference.” she’s a federal judge and she has no idea that that term went out of date 10+ years ago.— John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️🌈 (@John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️🌈)1602597609.0
Saying that you have never discriminated against someone because of their “sexual preference” is a sure fire way fo… https://t.co/5EBBAbDGwi— Guy Cecil (@Guy Cecil)1602598744.0
ACB using the phrase "sexual preference" is telling on herself.— Anthony 🎃 169 A.D.2d 254 (1991) 👻 Kreis (@Anthony 🎃 169 A.D.2d 254 (1991) 👻 Kreis)1602597645.0
And, of course, Twitter had a few jokes to make about the incident.
my sexual *orientation* is gay my sexual *preference* is to have sex— David Mack (@David Mack)1602600072.0
Ugh. Did Judge Coney Barrett really use the 1970s term 'sexual preference' when discussing marriage equality? Tak… https://t.co/J2rB1V945Q— David Cicilline (@David Cicilline)1602600375.0
Judge Barrett said “she would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.” I wonder if she views heterosexu… https://t.co/3RiTSNHlLk— David Axelrod (@David Axelrod)1602620863.0
Although the 2020 election is actively in progress, Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings will continue as America suffers through the global pandemic.
Most political pundits believe Barrett will be confirmed mere days before the election concludes, leaving the Senate with no time to pass any economic stimulus.