This has been a bountiful year for opinion pieces, though often of the same crop. The 2020 election, police violence against minorities and COVID-19 have been the three horsemen riding around the opinion section at The Houstonian, much to the consternation of my Editor-in-Chief.
However, a brand-new horseman of the apocalypse, the Supreme Court vacancy, has come to launch a dozen or more half-baked rhetorical arguments of the exact kind of quality you expect from a student newspaper.
The most honored nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett, when questioned on LGBTQ rights on Oct. 13, used the term “sexual preference” instead of orientation, according to Business Insider.
This is an interesting use of words, regardless of the supposed ignorance as explained with her apology, according to Business Insider. This confirms the mindset of a person some consider fairly homophobic, who will be given a position of power to help decide the human rights of millions.
The use of the term “preference” implies a choice.
For example, I prefer to eat chocolate ice cream. Consider if a place did not serve this delicious dessert, a person is disgusted by chocolate ice cream or fires me for liking this heathen item.
Even though the ethical situation around these actions is different, there could be an argument made that I choose to like the flavor despite other peoples’ objections. It is my choice to eat.
However, being in love, finding attraction to someone or having a certain gender identity is not a decision made of free will.
When I, a bisexual man, find myself attracted to a man or a woman, it is not a choice but a reaction of my body that I cannot control. I may control how I deal with that feeling, but I cannot choose to deny it.
These are the stakes when discrimination is allowed against LGBTQ people and they are made to feel unsafe in living their lives. This is a cruel persecution of an unchangeable orientation.
Such a slip of the tongue could be forgivable if there was an honest drive to help the marginalized community, but Barrett certainly does not have that drive.
Barrett has been associated with and spoken lectures for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As a former member of the board to Trinity School, where five of her children went, Barrett joined knowing the openly anti-LGBTQ views expressed in the language of the school’s “cultural statement,” according to Politico. The language was not changed until after her tenure on the board.
Barrett’s mentor, Antonin Scalia, was also against the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which solidified marriage equality as a constitutional right, using the same argument that a 250-year-old piece of paper must be worshipped to injury of those most vulnerable.
One might point fingers to a certain Democrat, say former Vice President Joe Biden, who not only used the term this year but has had a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ policies, according to Fox News and the New York Times.
I would put three small points to counter that argument.
First, Biden has not so recently associated himself with such policy or rhetoric aimed at destroying the LGBTQ community’s inherent rights, and was asking for everyone’s support in the slip up this May.
Second, the presidency, as of this day in 2020, is not a lifetime appointment like the Supreme Court.
Third, Barrett’s legalese defense of the conservative position against gay liberty gives others a platform and lends legitimacy to arguments against those freedoms in the future.
The sincere hope is that the people, given inalienable rights, will still have those rights with judges like Barrett in the Supreme Court. People should be protected by the law against discriminatory harm.