Utah State Senator Chris Buttars has announced his retirement from politics, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Buttars made the announcement on Thursday, immediately after the Legislature adjourned.

The 68-year-old Republican has suffered from various health problems.

In 2009, the Senate leadership reprimanded Buttars over anti-gay remarks he made in an interview with filmmaker Reed Cowan for the documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition.

In his interview, Buttars, a practicing Mormon, called gays “mean” and likened 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 added, 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 said the institution is the beginning of the end: “What are the morals of a gay person? You can't answer that because anything goes.”

Buttars lost his Judiciary Committee chair over the remarks.

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly's socially conservative group, praised Buttars for his near decade of service in the chamber.

“He's one of the kindest people, but he took on the hard issues and when you stand that strong for what you believe in, he's a very righteous man, so he's a target.”

Referring to Utah's constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage, Ruzicka said: “One of the most incredible things he ever did is he and LaVar [Christensen] working together doing Amendment 3. That is a legacy that will live forever.”