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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Hawaii’s Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono raised eyebrows during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, with a particular line of attack focusing on Barrett’s earlier use of the term “sexual preference” to reference homosexuality.

“Even though you did not give a direct answer” on the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling (which made same-sex “marriage” the law of the land), Hirono said, “I think your response did speak volumes.”

“Not once but twice you used the term ‘sexual preference’ to describe those in the LGBTQ community,” she went on. “And let me make clear: ‘sexual preference’ is an offensive and outdated term.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. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person’s identity. That sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable was a key part of the majority’s opinion in Obergefell, which, by the way, Scalia did not agree with.”

“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.”

Hirono’s time expired before Barrett could respond, but the next questioner, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, gave her a chance to do so. “I certainly didn’t mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBT community,” Barrett said.

The senator also asked Barrett whether, as an adult, she has made any unwanted requests “for sexual favors, or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” She then asked, “Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?”

To both questions, the Supreme Court nominee responded, “No.”

One of the Senate’s most radical Democrats, Hirono has made a name for herself during judicial confirmation hearings. In 2019 she declared that the Catholic Knights of Columbus held an “alt-right” position on abortion and LGBT issues. The year before, she claimed that then-judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s denial of sexual assault claims (for which no evidence was ever produced) lacked “credibility” on the basis of his assumed position “against women’s reproductive choice,” i.e., abortion.