Amy Coney Barrett

With ‘Sexual Preference,’ Amy Coney Barrett Implies that Orientation Can Change

Amy Coney BarrettContact: Christopher Vasquez,
NCLR Communications Director
cvasquez@nclrights.org / (415) 365-1337

“This is why so many people, including many parents who send their children to conversion therapy, think being LGBTQ is a choice. As judges know, language matters.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today during confirmation hearings in front of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett used the dangerous term “sexual preference” when responding to Sen. Dianne Feinstein about her commitment to equality for the LGTBQ community. LGBTQ people have cautioned against use of the outdated term “preference” for many years because of its false and harmful implication that an individual’s sexual orientation is a choice that can be changed.

“Conversion therapy preys on vulnerable families and youth by promoting the deadly lie that being LGBTQ is a choice,” said Mathew Shurka, Born Perfect co-founder and chief strategist. “Believing that lie has caused incalculable damage to LGBTQ young people, who urgently need to know that they are born perfect. We hope that Judge Amy Coney Barrett and all people in positions of visibility and influence will consider the impact of their words on these vulnerable youth.”

“When Amy Coney Barrett used the term ’sexual preference’ in her testimony before the Senate today, she perpetuated the dangerous and false stereotype that being LGBTQ is not a fundamental aspect of identity, but a mere ’preference,’ said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director. “This is why so many people, including many parents who send their children to conversion therapy, think being LGBTQ is a choice. As judges know, language matters.”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).