SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah state senator on Friday was kicked off a judicial committee he chaired after he drew criticism for comparing gay activists to radical Muslims in an interview aired this week.
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, also told former local television reporter Reed Cowan, an openly gay documentary producer who now works at a Miami station, that gay activists are "probably the greatest threat to America going down."
The comments drew calls for Buttars' resignation in Utah and elsewhere. The Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, said that by Friday more than 15,000 e-mails had been sent to Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, demanding that he condemn Buttars' remarks.
Waddoups did not condemn Buttars' statements and said he kicked Buttars off the committee primarily as a way to draw attention away from him. In a brief news conference Friday, Waddoups declined to say what comments — if any — Buttars made that he and other Republicans disagreed with.
"We think he's a senator that represents the point of view of many of his constituents, of many of ours," Waddoups said. "We agree with many of the things he said. We may disagree with some of them, we may disagree with some of the ways he said it."
Buttars declined to comment to The Associated Press, but said Friday he would not be issuing an apology....
In comparing gay activists to Islamic radicals, Buttars said, "Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it's been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side."...
Last year, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People demanded that Buttars resign after he disparaged a bill by saying, "This baby is black, I'll tell you. It's a dark, ugly thing."
Word has it that if Buttars gets kicked out of the Utah State Senate his next gig will be as a cartoonist for the New York Post.