Let's start out with something very clear and painfully obvious, the term "sexual preference" is in no way now, nor has it ever been offensive or a homophobic dog whistle or used to harm LGBT people. The notion is ridiculous on its face. But when Democrats feel they have a useful weapon to distract with and manufacture outrage, especially when exploiting identity politics, they will happily use it. As is the case with the profound and obscenely ridiculous manufactured controversy the Democrats crafted over Amy Coney Barrett innocently uttering the words during her confirmation hearing.
As carefully documented by Robby Soave in Reason, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) asked Barrett if she would rule against LGBT protections, Barrett responded she, "never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference." MSNBC's Kyle Griffin began by lecturing, "Sexual preference," a term used by Justice Barrett, is offensive and outdated. The term implies sexuality is a choice. It is not. News organizations should not repeat Justice Barrett's words without providing that important context."
Soon dozens of woke activists suddenly realized they too found the phrase unacceptably repulsive and began scolding the internet on why it is wrong to utilize it. The Advocate declared the term "anti-LGBT' in a headline, Amy Coney Barrett Blasted for Anti-LGBTQ+ Term 'Sexual Preference'. Jezebel declared it a "slur" and Politico framed the statement as Barrett referring to sexual orientation as a "preference." Of course, as she so often does, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), exploited the situation for politics.
After expressing disappointment that Barrett would not provide her personal opinion on previous LGBT-focused Supreme Court cases, a standard for all nominees Hirono chose to ignore with Kavanaugh as well, she declared that the use of "sexual preference" spoke louder than her silence.
She then falsely, laughably, insisted the term is used by anti-LGBT activists to suggest that sexual orientation is somehow flexible or a choice. Exploiting this nonsensical and literally very sudden rewriting of history for this specific moment, she continued to press Barrett on her use of the word "preference" as though it signaled secret homophobic intent. She warned the LGBT community on how we should be "rightly concerned" on whether Barrett would uphold our Constitutional rights based solely on that.
Being the polite person she is, and likely just as astonished by this remarkably sudden twisting of the normal usage of the term, Barrett stated, "I certainly didn't mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense to the LGBTQ community."
She continued "So, if I did, I greatly apologize for that. I simply meant to be referring to Obergefell's ruling with respect to same sex marriage." Up until five minutes ago, no one would have blinked twice over hearing the phrase "sexual preference." As Soave pointed out, no one seemed to notice or care when Joe Biden did so a few months back at a round table event when he said, in part, "…but this time bring everybody along regardless of color, sexual preference, their backgrounds."
UN Women didn't seem to know the term was "offensive and outdated" when they tweeted out the phrase in celebration of equality for all back in January. In August of 2019, Showtime, celebrating the reboot of the LGBT TV show The L Word tweeted this, "Storytelling can have you feel compassion and empathy because love is love. It's an energy that's not defined by gender and sexual preference."
Even ultra-woke leftwing celebrity Sandra Bernhard tweeted in July of 2019, "Happy 4th everyone may all people enjoy the equal blessings and freedom of this great land in spite of color gender sexual preference or financial status in spite of the contemptuous fool occupying the White House."
Despite what is clear and utter nonsense to anyone outside of the leftwing groupthink bubble, and despite the fact that the word "orientation" is no more or less implying a "choice" and ignoring the fact LGBT openly celebrates fluid and changing sexual and gender identities every day, its obvious what this all is.
LGBT media and advocacy have been building up Amy Coney Barrett as an existential threat to same-sex marriage and gay rights for weeks. When she was asked directly, she shot down the irrational fear-based argument by saying, "If [a state] outlawed same-sex marriage, there would have to be a case challenging it. And for the Supreme Court to take it up, you'd have to have lower courts going along and say, 'We're going to flout Obergefell,'"
Continuing, she argued, "And the most likely result would be that lower courts, who are bound by Obergefell, would shut such a lawsuit down and it wouldn't make its way up to the Supreme Court." Essentially, the process to even begin the process of overturning Obergefell is unreasonable and she has no power to simply declare same-sex marriage over. As she pointed out, "Judges can't just wake up one day and say, 'I have an agenda. I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion,' and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world."
Denying them confirmation of their own irrational biases and prejudices, they resorted to pretending to be outraged over something completely innocent and have since convinced themselves their paranoia and outrage was justified all along. Amy Coney Barrett is a nice person. She is incredibly intelligent, ambitious, kind and transparent about her dedication to judicial philosophy and boundaries.
There is absolutely nothing a reasonable person could object to over her nomination and all of their hysterical fears and predictions of the fall of civil rights as we know them failed to materialize during these hearings. So, like Senator Hirono declared, when she failed to be sufficiently anti-LGBT, they made something up to be mad at. There is really nothing more to it than that.