Senators met for two hours Friday, February 19, in a closed-door session; after which Sen. Chris Buttars left the Utah State Capitol Building through a private exit. Sources say he was sent home to talk to his family to determine his next course of action.
Buttars is under fire for recently-released comments he made on film for a documentary by Reed Cowan on California’s Proposition 8. The senator said that gays and lesbians are “the greatest threat to America going down that I know of.” He also compared gay activists to radical Muslims.
A morning news conference has been called by Senate Leader Michael Waddoups to announce Buttars’ future. It is expected that, if Buttars does not resign from office, he will at least be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee.
Buttars lost the chairmanship during last year’s legislative session after a letter he penned scolding a Utah judge for ruling against a friend was made public and after comments he made on the floor referring to a bill as a black baby, “a dark, ugly thing.” Many considered the comments racist and the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP called for his resignation.
Waddoups’ decision to reinstate Buttars to the position this year raised eyebrows.
Buttars returned to the hill this morning and chaired the Judiciary Committee’s meeting. He has brought before the committee a bill he is sponsoring, SB243 “Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission Modifications.” Also on the committee’s agenda was openly-gay Sen. Scott McCoy’s bill on concealed firearms permit fees.