"Utah state senator to lose his committee chairmanship after homophobic diatribe."
Earlier this week, documentary film makers released the audio portion of an interview with Utah state senator Chris Buttars (R), who called gay people “the greatest threat to America going down,” labeled homosexuality “a sexual perversion,” and compared gays to alcoholics. Today, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Buttars’ Republican colleagues have decided to kick him out of the state senate judiciary committee:
Sources familiar with the Senate discussions, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Senate Republican caucus decided to remove Buttars from the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel which he currently chairs.
It is unclear how that move would affect his position on another panel, the Judicial Confirmation Committee, which he also chairs and is a member of by virtue of his position on the Judiciary Committee.
Sources say no decision is final until Buttars confers with Senate President Michael Waddoups, who defended Buttars earlier this week. “Issues that are moral for him are things he should stand up for and represent his people. That’s why they elected him. He’s doing his job,” Waddoups said.
UPDATE: In the press conference, Waddoups continued to defend Buttars. “I want the citizens of Utah to know that the Senate stands behind Sen. Buttars and his right to speak, that we stand behind him as colleague and support his right to serve in this state,” Waddoups said. Meanwhile, Buttars refused to apologize for his comments, in a senate blog post:
When it comes right down to it, I would rather be censured for doing what I think is right, than be honored by my colleagues for bowing to the pressure of a special interest group that has been allowed to act with impunity.
Read his full post below:
I was disappointed to learn of the Utah State Senate’s Censure on Feb. 20, 2009. However, this action will not discourage me from defending marriage from an increasingly vocal and radical segment of the homosexual community.
In recent years, registering opposition to the homosexual agenda has become almost impossible. Political correctness has replaced open and energetic debate. Those who dare to disagree with the homosexual agenda are labeled “haters,” and “bigots,” and are censured by their peers. The media contributes to the problem. Increasingly, individuals with conservative beliefs are targeted by a left-leaning media that uses their position of public trust as a bully pulpit. This pattern of intimidation suppresses free speech.
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.
Still, I’m a grown man and I can take my knocks. When it comes right down to it, I would rather be censured for doing what I think is right, than be honored by my colleagues for bowing to the pressure of a special interest group that has been allowed to act with impunity.
Thanks to the many citizens who have written and called to express their support. Please know that I’ll live through this to fight another day. In years to come, we’ll all look back at this point in history and see it as a crossroads. I have no intention of resigning.
Deseret News reports that Buttars could resign today. Waddoups will give a press conference this morning about Buttars’ fate. “None of the Senate GOP leaders were willing to say what that fate might be, but did acknowledge resignation was a possibility.”