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Republican Utah State Senator Stripped of Committee Chairmanship over Anti-Gay Remarks

Utah Republican state Senator Chris Buttars was removed from his membership and chairmanship of both the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee Friday after public controversy about anti-gay remarks Buttars made to a documentary filmmaker. The sanctions against Buttars came after state Senate Republicans caucused for two hours on Thursday on the controversy.

In a post on the state Senate’s blog Buttars said “For the record, I do not agree with the censure I see it as an attempt to shy away from controversy. In particular, I disagree with my removal as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, since my work there is entirely unrelated to my opposition to the homosexual agenda.” Buttar also told the Salt Lake Tribune that “I don’t have anything to apologize for.” Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpatrick defended the decision and told the KCPW that “we feel that he has kind of become more of a figurehead on these issues and we want to be able to focus on the issues again, not the personalities.”

Buttar’s comments were made during an interview for a documentary on Proposition 8. According to the Associated Press, Buttar said that gay and lesbian rights activists are “probably the greatest threat to America going down.” He also asked “what is the morals of a gay person? You can’t answer that, because anything goes. So now you are moving toward a society that has no morals.” Buttar also compared gay rights activists to Islamic radicals: “Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.”

Sources:

KCPW News 2/23/09; Salt Lake Tribune 2/20/09; Utah State Senate Blog 2/20/09; Associated Press 2/21/09

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