Buttars To Lose Chairmanship (or Resign) Over Anti-Gay Rant?

Earlier this week we posted on the extended interview Utah state Senator Chris Buttars gave as part of a documentary on Proposition 8 in which he spent fifteen minutes comparing gays to Islamic radicals and America to Sodom and Gomorrah,while proclaiming that gays have no morals and that acceptance of their lifestyle will bring about the destruction of the nation.

Buttars’ remarks are not going over well with some of his fellow Republicans, who are apparently getting tired of being embarrassed by him, and so it looks like they are preparing to strip him of his position as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

An anti-gay diatribe by Sen. Chris Buttars will cost him his spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Tribune has learned.

Senate Republicans, prompted by complaints from minority Democrats, held a frank discussion of Buttars’ actions in a closed-door caucus Thursday. Afterward, senators would not discuss what action, if any, might be taken against the West Jordan Republican.

Part of it, Senate leaders said, depends on what Buttars, who left the Capitol after Thursday’s caucus to be with his family, decides to do. He did not return a phone message. But Senate President Michael Waddoups said the action he plans to take is clear.

“I’ve made up my mind what I’m going to do,” Waddoups, R-Taylorsville said, but he would not elaborate.

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 … A news conference has been scheduled for Friday morning to discuss the Buttars situation.

Of course, Buttars’ right-wing allies are defending him:

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative organization that has been among Buttars’ most strident supporters, said she did not expect any action against the senator.

“It’s a free speech issue,” she said. “I’m sure they’d defend anybody’s right on that floor to say what they want to say.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that “a news conference has been scheduled for Friday morning to discuss the Buttars situation” where it will be announced, according to ABC 4, “that Buttars will likely be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And some we talked to even suggest resignation is not entirely out of the question.”

Update: Buttars has been stripped of his chairmanship:

Senator Chris Buttars has been censured for his comments about homosexuals.

The Utah Senate announced in a press conference Buttars has been removed from his chair of the judicial committee.