Utah state Senator Chris Buttars has been reprimanded by Senate leaders over anti-gay remarks leaked to the press on Wednesday.

Several gay rights activists had called for Buttars' resignation.

Instead, at a 9:30AM press conference, Senate leaders announced he has been removed from his chair of the powerful Judicial Committee. Buttars is also no longer a member of the committee, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

On the same day the Utah Legislature voted down the last of five gay rights bills, Salt Lake City-based KTVX, an ABC affiliate, aired audio clips of the Republican senator calling the gay rights movement “probably the greatest threat to America.”

The Republican senator made his strong statements in an interview conducted with filmmaker Reed Cowan for an upcoming documentary titled 8: The Mormon Proposition.

The ABC affiliate received permission to air several audio clips from the documentary.

In his interview, Buttars, a practicing Mormon, calls gays “mean” and likens them to terrorists.

“They're mean. They want to talk about being nice. They're the meanest buggers I have ever seen.”

“It's just like the Muslims,” he adds, moments later. “Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it's been taken over by the radical side.”

On the subject of gay marriage, Buttars says the institution is the beginning of the end: “What are the morals of a gay person? You can't answer that because anything goes.”

And the ABC affiliate also reported it would not air certain portions of the interview where the senator discussed gay sexual activities because it was deemed inappropriate for broadcast.

The decision to censure Buttars was made Thursday night by the Senate Republican caucus and announced Friday by Senate President Michael Waddoups, a Republican from Taylorsville.

Openly gay Senator Scott McCoy said he was offended by the remarks, but stopped short of asking for disciplinary measures.

“Other people around the country are now looking at Utah and seeing a member of the Senate saying things like this that are so outrageous and simply ridiculous,” McCoy told KCPW, a Salt Lake City-based NPR affiliate. “Then they assume that, you know, they kind of paint us with that whole brush and we're all kind of tarnished by it. So I think it is serious, and I think it's unfortunate. I am really disappointed by it. And I wish it would stop.”

Gay rights activist Jacob Whipple, founder of the All For One Initiative, called for the resignation of the senator on Wednesday.

“He basically labeled my community as virtually the devil incarnate,” Whipple told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I don't think that he represents Utah any more. ... Saying something so hurtful has no place on the hill.”

Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest GLBT rights advocate, issued an action alert that demanded Waddoups condemn Buttars' remarks.