UPDATE: Anti-gay Utah State Senator Chris Buttars stripped of Judiciary Committee chairmanship
February 20, 2009
Utah Senator Chris Buttars has been rightfully removed from the chairmanship of the Utah Senate Judiciary Committee. Still, Buttars has refused to apologize - and Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups was quick to point that Buttars isn't being punished for his anti-LGBT comments:
Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups announced this morning that Buttars will be removed as chair and a member of the Judicial Standing Committee. He will remain on the Senate Rules Committee.There has been outrage over the comments this year because gays have unsuccessfully sponsored a package of bills they say find common ground on the issue of equal rights. Also, Butters has a record of speaking off the cuff when it comes to gays, illegal immigrants, and African Americans. Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, says the move shouldn't be viewed as punishment but rather the removal of a distraction. "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. He said this will free Sen. Buttars to be more at ease when speaking his opinions. He also said he stands behind Buttars' rights to express his opinions and to serve in the Senate.
This morning, HRC launched an action alert to have our members encourage Waddoups to reprimand and publicly censure Buttars. This man does not deserve to chair the committee that hears legislation on LGBT issues - and we're glad he will no longer be able to act on his prejudices from the helm of the judiciary committee. On the other hand, Waddoups needs to take a much stronger stand against legislators using their platform to spout bigotry. His statement of support for Buttars is troubling - to say the least.