Sen. Chris Buttars: being homophobic IS equivalent to being racist

Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 12:00am

Racism is defined in Webster's dictionary as hatred or intolerance of another race or other races. In the past few weeks this is what people have been accusing Senator Chris Buttars of, for the statement he used when referring to a bill which he didn't approve. Perhaps he just wasn't thinking about what he was saying; however, in today's society everything in the public eye needs to be politically correct in order to not be frowned upon.

Buttars claims that he was simply emphasizing his disapproval of what other representatives have been calling an "ugly baby" by saying "This baby is black ... It's a dark, ugly thing". When Jeanetta Williams, the Utah Representative for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called for his resignation she did not see it that way. Although he was not forced to resign, he did issue a public apology. The NAACP called for a meeting to discuss what action he should take in regards to his statement and Buttars agreed. When the time came for the meeting, however, he failed to show up.

The next morning, the senator said he was the target of a "hate lynch mob," based on bitter e-mails he had received. When confronted about this, he claimed it was not a racist remark. When interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune he said, "How do I know what words I am supposed to use in front of those people?" further emphasizing the fact that he was singling out the group of people he claimed not to be in the first place.

Not only is he offending the NAACP, but Governor Jon Huntsman said, in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, "I thought they were highly inappropriate and intemperate remarks and I was personally offended by them." On the other hand, he did not think it was appropriate for him to be the one to assign Buttars' resignation. He said it should be up to the people re-electing Buttars because he represents them and therefore it should be their decision if they wanted him to continue to do so.

For those who would be voting for him, they also have other issues to consider. Not only has he been called a racist, he is well known for being a homophobe. He is in major opposition to the domestic partner registry. This would allow not only homosexuals to be acknowledged as partners but allow people living in the same household to register so that they could receive benefits such as insurance from the other person. The main reason he is opposing to this bill is because he is against any homosexual activity.

If Senator Buttars wasn't being racist when he made the comment about "the baby" being black, he is definitely being very homophobic. In 2006 he attempted to pass a bill that would have banned all extra-curricular activities in high schools simply because he didn't want them to have a Gay Straight Alliance club.

Whether or not people agree with Chris Buttars and his view on homosexuality, it should be known that being homophobic is just as bad being racist. He should be judged for not only making those few racist comments, but for being openly homophobic for his entire political career.

"Homosexuals are a minority as well as people of racially diverse backgrounds. Having dealt with the homophobia people have expressed towards myself and having seen what people being racist against my friends does to them, the feeling is exactly the same and should be looked at that way. So, why is it that no one judges him for the fact that he is a homophobic racist bigot, who apparently has no spine or he would have appeared at the NAACP meeting ... regardless of what he tries to say to make things seem better than they are, he will never be able to cover up the ignorant things he has said, and he needs to be a man and admit he was incredibly wrong," said Scotty Phillips, a member of the Utah Gay community.

Chris Buttars does not believe he is wrong when demeaning the character of any gay person hoping to register as domestic partners and, being in Utah, many people are on his side. But times are changing, and speaking out against homosexuals should be equally as wrong as making racist remarks.

Salt Lake county citizens should take these things into consideration when the time comes to re-elect Chris Buttars for Senate.

Filed under: viewpoints