So Judge Amy thinks that I have a preference for men. Does that mean she has a preference for men too? Or is she hiding something? Maybe she prefers women? But that wouldn’t that be against her religion? So she chooses — because it’s a choice — to like men and marry a man?
Do we have something in common? Are we both boy crazy because we prefer boys? And because I prefer men, does that mean that I prefer to marry them, say, over a woman? Did she prefer to marry her husband over her husband’s best friend? The Catholic Church doesn’t prefer — it prohibits — same-sex marriage, so does she feel the same way? She must. Is sexuality a choice and who you marry against the morals of God?
We didn’t have a choice of whether we could marry our same-sex spouses. Not until 2013 and 2015, did the Supreme Court begin to tear down the barriers and legalize same-sex marriage. Judge Amy never had to worry about whether or not she could get married. Or make a choice to be married. We, for so, so, so long, didn’t have the luxury of that choice. We had to be stuck with terms like roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner — but we could never say wife or husband until now. And now, for how much longer?
She also allegedly has a preference to be subservient to her husband. She had a choice to be a “handmaid” for the People of Praise, a small religious community that obviously opposes abortion, and feels women should be obedient to men. As queers, we have a choice about whether we want to be a top or a bottom or versatile — and none of those positions automatically makes us submissive to our partner.
But we didn’t always have that choice, because gay sex was for a long, long time illegal, and the horrific choice we had was whether to risk breaking the law for those we loved or wanted to sleep with. Up until 2003, when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, gay sex could still be illegal. But are we heading down the path to reverse the decision? Because our preference is not something that God approves in the eyes of Judge Amy? Will she take away our choice about who we can have sex with? Are we going back to the days when we were humiliatingly forced to sneak around public restrooms or go to underground bars? Are the only people who share a bed in Judge Amy’s world a husband and a wife?
Her preference is to share a bed with her husband. But do they share a bed? Or do they sleep in separate beds like Lucy and Ricky? Or Rob and Laura? Are we to be forced back into the closet, where black-and-white TVs sit ignored, collecting dust? Where we have to hide our preference, because that’s what you did when Ozzie and Harriet lived in your neighborhood? You had to hide, as your sexuality collected dust. When choice — a preference — was assumed to be a fact and made you less of a person because of who you chose or had a preference to love? Before orientation was scientifically proven? Will we start to be referred to as “the homosexuals who prefer the company of men?” Will we be wrongly demonized as sodomizers, deviants, and child molesters?
Judge Amy also had the choice to adopt children all her life. And she did, adopting two, with most likely no deterrents to her choice. We did not have that choice until recently. Two 21st-century rulings by the Supreme Court ordered all states to treat same-sex couples equally to opposite-sex couples in the issuance of birth certificates. These court rulings have made adoption by same-sex couples legal in all 50 states. But will our choice to adopt be taken away, just like our choice for who we love and who we sleep with? Because this choice is not ours to make? Because the preference of Judge Amy is that only straight people can adopt? Because children need a mommy and a daddy? That two mommies and two daddies will make the child homosexual? Or is it that having gay parents makes the child more likely to have a preference for a same-sex relationship?
Judge Amy had the choice of whether to join the military and serve her country. Her preference was not to do that and to follow the law, get married to a man, and procreate children in God’s holy name. We did not have the choice of whether or not we could enter the military, because we were prohibited from signing up or brutally kicked out if our preference was found out. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the previous outright ban made us hide our preferences — we weren’t at orientation just yet. Not until that ridiculous edict was wiped away could we choose to enter the military and fight and pour our blood for our country. The United States, home of the free, that had for so long preferred that we stay out of foxholes and barracks.
Judge Amy has the choice of whether she can donate blood. For gay and bi men, we still really don’t have the choice of whether or not we can give blood. The Food and Drug Administration announced a relaxing of its restrictions on men who have sex with men being allowed to donate blood, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of one year, if a male has had sex with another male, he need only abstain three months to donate blood. Only three months? They’d prefer we remain celibate. Do they prefer that we go to the back of the line if there’s a blood shortage? That our blood will only be taken if all the straight people who have sex five times a week go first? They still prefer that we not give blood; otherwise, we wouldn’t have to wait. Judge Amy can walk right in.
Judge Amy — you know, that makes her sound so innocent — Judge Barrett. Or wait, maybe she has a preference for Judge Coney Barrett? How about Judge Preference? Her dancing around precedent and smirking “sexual preference” on Tuesday during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was at once astonishing and disgusting. She is out to stop the LGBTQ+ community and reverse all of our hard-earned choices, and take us back to when our orientation was looked at by her and her ilk — and most everyone else — as an embarrassing and sinful preference.
Her choice is to stop us. Her preference is that we just disappear or go hide somewhere and not be counted.
While all this was going on, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to stop the 2020 U.S. Census. The census is important for our community. We all need to be counted and included and recognized. What a harbinger that decision is, because that won’t be the first stop at stopping for the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices have a lot of choices ahead about stopping our freedoms, and we should be scared shitless when Judge Preference joins the sinister Supreme.
Did she think that she could sneak her antigay dog whistle of “sexual preference” through her testimony? That somebody who rightly knows it’s an orientation wouldn’t catch it? When she uttered that phrase, “sexual preference,” she might as well have winked into the camera and said, “There you go, Family Research Council. That one was for you American Legislative Exchange Council. Did you hear that, Franklin Graham? Thinking of you, Anita Bryant. Samuel and Clarence, are you proud of me for what I just said? Be patient, my fellow homophobes, I’ll be coming to join you soon.”
I wonder if Justice Preference, along with Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito, and Thomas, will have a preference of whether the LGBTQ+ community should be sent to conversion camps or simply allowed to burn in hell in the afterlife?
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.