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Utah Senate May Sanction Buttars

Jim Burroway

February 19th, 2009

Utah State Senate President Michael Waddoups (R-Taylorsville) has announced a press conference for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning in response to the controversy surrounding anti-gay remarks by Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan).

In an interview last January for a documentary on Prop 8, Buttars told reporter Reed Cowan that gays are without morals and are “probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of.” Buttars compared gays to radical Muslims, and he claimed credit for killing every pro-gay piece of legislation in the past eight years. In a longer audio clip, Buttars, a former LDS bishop, described the situation as he saw it this way:

Oh, it’s worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is world wide. You can’t tell me that something that was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah is not going on wholesale right now, and to a large degree among the gay community. Absolutely. The underbelly is just what I said, is they can’t beat us unless the Supreme Court rules and overthrows everything. They can’t touch us in Utah.

It’s unknown right now what the GOP leadership will announce tomorrow. They may strip Buttars of his committee chairmanships, or they may extract some sort of apology. Resignation, at the moment, appears unlikely. But whatever the move, it seems to be an attempt to head off threats by minority Senate Democrats to bring the embarrassing episode to the Senate floor.

Fallout may extend beyond sanctioning Buttars, including possibly reconsidering some of the Common Ground bills which were so callously spiked earlier this week. Some Republicans appear to have been embarrassed by the black eye that action, coupled with Buttars’ remarks, has given the state:

A Republican senator told the Deseret News that GOP leadership is already asking that work get under way on a new version of the Common Ground bills intended to secure rights for gay and other nontraditional couples. The package of bills carried by Democrats has failed this session, but the senator said leadership is interested in seeing if “a common point of reference” can be found on issues including the ability to file a wrongful death suit and secure health insurance benefits.

The controversy surrounding Buttars’ statements — such as comparing gay rights activists to Muslim terrorists — can only help that process, the senator said.

Comments

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David C.
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

I expect little genuine contrition from this individual, and I await formal action on the part of the other leaders surrounding Buttars to redeem the honor of their body. Perhaps this outrage will find its resolution in part by making obvious the scurrilous attacks, political abuse, and denial of redress gay people have had to endure both in Utah and elsewhere in this country.

Swampfox
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

He is an idiot who will probably be re-elected.

John
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry, but Buttars didn’t just suddently appear out of nowhere. And just how are his views and his behavior that of just one individual when his fellow Mormon Republicans helped him kill these bills and showed nothing but contempt for the people who came before the committees to testify? The bigotry on display here isn’t isolated to one individual, but instead pervasive.

cowboy
February 20th, 2009 | LINK

Indeed, the majority of the people have said they agree with the sentiment expressed by Mr. Buttars but not his method of expression.

Well…big whoop! That makes me feel a whole lot better. /sarcasm

Timothy Kincaid
February 20th, 2009 | LINK

I’m a bit reminded of how Focus on the Family and the American Family Association criticize the Phelps family.

It’s not that they disagree with anything they say, it’s just that they are embarassed by the visibility of the motivation behind the message.

Swampfox
February 21st, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, Mike S. Adams uses the same technique of criticizing the Phelps family ………….. and, then keeps attacking the GLBT community with great vigor.

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