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Homophobic Utah Sen. Buttars Retires

Homophobic Utah Sen. Buttars Retires

Antigay lightning rod Utah state senator Chris Buttars, said Friday that he was retiring immediately.

In a 1 a.m. speech on the Senate floor the ultraconservative legislator, who has been sharply criticized for racist and antigay statements, claimed he has stood for truth, but "there are other truths beyond the moral truths and one of them is human frailty." The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Buttars, 69, has been suffering from health problems including diabetes, and that his wife has been seriously ill as well.

In February 2009, after a closed-door meeting among senate Republicans, Buttars was removed from the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee for making homophobic remarks. In 8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary on California's discriminatory Proposition 8, Buttars said that gays are "the greatest threat to America," and compared them to radical Muslims. "It's the beginning of the end," Buttars said. "Oh, it's worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide."

In a response to being censured, he wrote, "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."

His apparent willingness to engage in open debate contradicts sharply with his stated philosophy: "I'm going to tell you where I stand and I don't want to know where you stand. You may not agree with me but you'll always know where I stand."

In February 2008, Buttars was condemned for speaking on the floor about a school-funding bill, saying, "This baby is black. It's a dark, ugly thing." The local NAACP called his words "despicable" and demanded his resignation.

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