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