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More Proof: Buttars Sanctioned for Being An Embarrasment, Not for Being A Bigot

Jim Burroway

February 22nd, 2009

Timothy and I both noticed that as Utah State Senate President Michael Waddoups explained his reasons for sanctioning State Sen. Chris Buttars, it wasn’t because the GOP caucus disagreed with what Buttars said, but that they were embarrassed with how he said it.

Well if there was any doubt, there’s more proof in this latest article from the Salt Lake Tribune posted late yesterday evening:

Senate leaders did not discipline Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, for anti-gay comments he made in a recent interview, but because he violated a deal with leadership that he not talk about gay issues, a senator said Saturday.

“Most of what Senator Buttars said, I agree with,” Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said in a weekly Red Meat Radio program he hosts on K-TALK. “We as a Senate caucus had an agreement that because Sen. Buttars had become such a lightning rod on this issue, he would not be the spokesman on this issue and basically he violated that agreement.” …”It happened, not because he said a lot of things wrong, but because he decided to be the spokesman again,” Stephenson said.

Buttars, a former LDS bishop, came under fire when, in an interview with reporter Reed Cowan, he compared gays to radical Muslims, said they had no morals, and called them “probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of.” When Utah State Senate Democrats threatened to bring the issue up on the Senate floor, Waddoups called a news conference on Friday where he announced that Buttars would be relieved of his chairmanship of two committees.

But notice that during that press conference, Waddoups refused to condemn what Buttars said. In fact, he said that “We agree with many of the things he said. … We stand four square behind his right [to say what he wants].” He also said that removing Buttars from the two committee chairmanships “frees Senator Buttars to feel more at ease in saying how he personally feels without feeling as if he’s personally speaking on behalf of his committee and the Legislature.”

So why was Buttars sanctioned if they didn’t disagree with what he said? According to Sen. Stephenson:

Senate Republicans, including Buttars, reached an agreement at a day-long caucus Dec. 13 that, because he was such a polarizing figure, Buttars should not comment on gay issues. That included a prohibition on speaking to the Common Ground bills that sought some equal rights for gays.

But Buttars didn’t stay on the sidelines for long. Just a month later, he sat down with documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan for the hour-long interview for a project on California’s Proposition 8 against gay marriage, in which Buttars made the inflammatory statements.

Stephenson did disagree with Buttars on one thing. He was miffed that Buttars hogged the credit for killing every piece of gay-rights legislation to hit the Senate in the past eight years. Stephenson wants us to know that others should get some of the credit:

“For him to claim the glory for that, truly he’s delusional on this issue,” Stephenson said.

[Hat tip: Stefano]



Lynn David
February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

So most or all of the Utah state legislators are just as bigotted and homophobic as Buttars. But they’re too cowardly to say anything about it.

I think we have their ticket now.

Lynn David
February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Utah state REPUBLICN legislators that is.

Lynn David
February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

dang now I can’t even spell REPUBLICAN…

Just shoot me…..

February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Of course they’re all homophobic Neanderthals — who was delusional enough to believe otherwise?

The point is, they had to apologize for Buttars’ revealing to the world who and what they are. Utah, and the LDS hierarchy, learned from the Prop. 8 backlash that, because most of America just plain dislikes Mormans, they have to be more politic about what they do and say in public.

In short: No, Utah won’t be any less hostile that it’s been before. But they’ll be less obvious about it. And, perhaps, that’s a small victory for all side.

February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

The agreement included a prohibition on speaking to the Common Ground bills.

So the agreement was that he killed the measure but not brag about it.

February 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Is anyone surprised?

Timothy (TRiG)
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Glory? Glory?

Okay ….

Maybe these people live in some kind of parallel universe.



February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Yes, all true — but still, it’s a heartening change that the Utah legislature finds this kind of bile embarrassing.

Stefano A
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Pender, that’s the thing… they were not embarrassed by the bile. They were pissed off because they’re hatred was brashly and pointedly expressed. Not the same thing as being embarrassed by the bile. The bile they still say they agree with.

February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

[their] hatred… is baldfaced bigotry.

The moderate Governor of Utah wants to “move on” with business at the Legislature. The Buttars affair is over.

There needs to be more condemnation of this kind of bigotry and it should come from outside the State of Utah…and it should come until more than just a ‘hand slap’ is meted as punishment for such bigotry.

Stefano A
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK


LOL Thanks for correcting “they’re”-[their].

I hate making stupid mistakes like that.

And yes, I would like to have seen more condemnation of Buttars remarks and criticism of how it was handled coming out of the Republican National Convetion and Log Cabin Republicans.

David C.
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

No, Utah won’t be any less hostile [than] it’s been before. But they’ll be less obvious about it. And, perhaps, that’s a small victory for all [sides]. —K

I would hesitate to call that much of a victory. I’d prefer the bigotry of others to be as visible as possible so it has a better chance of being questioned, exposed for what it as, and seen in how it ultimately manifests. That’s a major part of this flap.

When Buttars let it all hang out was when the true character of the Utah senate Republicans became blindingly evident. As long as all that stayed behind the scenes, it was hard for more moderate leaders and Democrats to get a political handle on. All of that has changed, and even though the slap on the wrists received by Buttars was scant punishment, the blow to the socially ultra-conservative Republican caucus in the Utah senate will likely reverberate for some time.

The moderate Governor of Utah wants to “move on” with business at the Legislature. The Buttars affair is over. —cowboy

Right, of course. Utah, like a lot of other states is wrestling with the current economic downturn. Gov. Huntsman has already gone on record as favoring more recognition and protection for gay couples and gay people in general. There is, at least at this time for the Governor, little to be gained by trying to make political hay out of the Buttars affair.

February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I just like to be called: poofreader.
(note the double entendre)

Richard Rush
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Cowboy wrote (emphasis mine):

There needs to be more condemnation of this kind of bigotry and it should come from outside the State of Utah…

I’m guessing it will have to come from outside of Utah. The more I learn about Utah, the more it looks like a de facto theocracy.

Scott P.
February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Richard, that’s one of the reasons I had to get out of there. The people, on the whole, are nice (sometimes phonier than many I’ve met in Hollywood) but the government is in the hands of the LDS hierarchy, make no mistakes about that.

February 23rd, 2009 | LINK

This is how Utah’s theocracy works: The local media (TV, radio and newspapers) know about the big Gorilla in their midst. They don’t want to make the Gorilla angry. They don’t want to make people angry who think the Gorilla can do no bad things…the Gorilla is perfect in everything it does. In fact, too much negative press about the Gorilla will alienate the majority of the populace. If that populace gets angry with the media, then the media will have to deal with potential loss of advertising revenue.

See…a cozy little symbiotic relationship a big Gorilla has in its jungle.

So, it will take an “outside” news reporter to get answers to the really difficult questions. Like: “What particular statements Mr. C. Buttars said about gays did you agree with?” [An “outside” news reporter would not accept a non-answer answer.] “Why is the methodology of his statement more important than the sentiment?” [The “outside” reporter can tell if the interviewee is trying to pretend he didn’t hear the question.] “Will Reed Cowan get his documentary aired on some TV Channel in Salt Lake City?” [The “outside” report could ask: “Did you just mumble: “When it snows in Hades?”]

February 24th, 2009 | LINK

Doesn’t anyone think that stereotyping ALL Mormons is just another form of unacceptable bigotry? There were many, many Mormons who support the gay community,opposed the repeal of Prop 8, reject Buttars’ idiocy,and are calling for his removal from the senate. Indeed, check out the outraged reaction among the Mormon community to Buttars, not because they are embarrassed, but because they believe he violates basic ideals of kindness, decency, and justice. We have to avoid the same evil we are accusing others of, or else we have no moral authority on this issue.

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