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US Merriam-Webster dictionary updates 'sexual preference' entry after Amy Coney Barrett hearing

11:30  16 october  2020
11:30  16 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Amy Coney Barrett said ' sexual preference ' during Tuesday's hearingCredit: AFP or licensors. Merriam - Webster 's Editor Peter Sokolowski told Fox News it usually updates words at different "In this case, we released the update for sexual preference when we noticed that the entries for

US dictionary Merriam - Webster redefines the term ' sexual preference ' as OFFENSIVE after Amy Coney Barrett used it and was criticized by Democrat senator who said sexuality is not a choice. Merriam - Webster dictionary 's fifth definition of the word ' preference ' cites 'orientation' and uses the

Merriam-Webster, the noted reference book and dictionary publisher, added the word "offensive" to its entry and usage guidance of "preference" and "sexual preference" when referring to sexual orientation after the issue came up during Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

During the hearing Tuesday, Barrett was asked whether she agrees with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s criticism of the same-sex marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges – the landmark case which legalized gay marriage in the United States and which advocates worry Barrett would not support if confirmed to the nation's highest court.

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Webster 's Dictionary updated the definition of " preference " on Tuesday to include what liberals now claim as a fact: that the word, when used in relation Democrats launched a new attack against Amy Coney Barrett during her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday because she uttered the phrase

Merriam - Webster has been accused of politicizing its dictionary after it flagged the term ‘ sexual preference ’ as offensive, mirroring a complaint leveled against Amy Coney Barrett during her SCOTUS confirmation hearing . The curious edit was spotted hours after Barrett was lambasted for

a person standing in front of a crowd: Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12, 2020, in Washington, D.C. © Pool photo by Erin Schaff Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Barrett's answered, “I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

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That response drew considerable blowback LGBTQ advocates who say “sexual preference” wrongly implies that sexuality is a choice.

Some conservative Twitter users were quick to note the dictionary change, and a search in the Wayback Machine, a website that archives Internet webpages, shows that as recently as late September the definition of "preference" in regard to sexual orientation did not have the word "offensive" attached to it.

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The term sexual preference implies that a person's sexuality is a matter of choice and has the potential to be changed -- an idea that medical organizations and advocacy groups have long rejected.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett , President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, used the widely denounced term " sexual preference " to refer to LGBTQ Americans' sexual orientations during her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, sparking widespread criticism from LGBTQ-rights

The dictionary is continually revised and updated, and Merriam-Webster makes scheduled changes several times a year to add or update words and their definitions and uses, Peter Sokolowski, the dictionary's editor at large, said in a statement.

"From time to time, we release one or some of these scheduled changes early when a word or set of words is getting extra attention, and it would seem timely to share that update," Sokolowski said.

OPINION: Judge Barrett, don't use 'sexual preference' for LGBTQ people. It's incorrect and alarming.

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"In this case, we released the update for sexual preference when we noticed that the entries for preference and sexual preference were being consulted in connection with the SCOTUS hearings. A revision made in response to an entry's increased attention differs only in celerity – as always, all revisions reflect evidence of use."

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Cory Booker quizzed Judge Amy Coney Barrett on her use of " sexual preference " instead of the politically correct term " sexual orientation." Senator Hirono going after Judge Barrett for her language on LGBTQ rights: Sexual preference is an offense and outdated term and I don’t think you

Amy Coney Barrett apologizes after being called out by a Democratic senator for using the 'offensive and outdated' term ' sexual preference ' to refer Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks as she attends the second day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary

According to the new usage guidance from the dictionary, "The term preference as used to refer to sexual orientation is widely considered offensive in its implied suggestion that a person can choose who they are sexually or romantically attracted to."

5 years after same-sex marriage ruling: Jim Obergefell reflects on the progress while still grieving

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, later slammed Barrett, saying the judge used an "offensive and outdated term."

Barrett apologized after Hirono spoke, saying, "I certainly didn't mean, and would never mean, to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community. So if I did, I greatly apologize for that."

Contributing: Savannah Behrmann

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Merriam-Webster dictionary updates 'sexual preference' entry after Amy Coney Barrett hearing

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