THE ‘GREATEST THREAT TO AMERICA’…. Roll Call reported the other day that Republicans on Capitol Hill have put the culture war on the backburner. To a large extent, with the GOP lacking access to the levers of power, that’s true. Republicans can’t start meaningful battles over gays, abortion, and religion from the minority.

But outside the beltway, it’s a different story.

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) surprised a lot of people about two weeks ago when he announced his support for civil unions for gay couples. This isn’t going over well with Utah Republicans, most notably state Sen. Chris Buttars.

If Buttars’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he has a knack for drawing attention to himself. In 2006, he blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education as “wrong to begin with.” Last year, Buttars raised a few eyebrows by launching an initiative to use the state government to “encourage” private businesses to promote “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

This week, Buttars shared his thoughts on gay Americans. Ali Frick has some of the highlights:

* “To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts! But I don’t care.”

* “They say, ‘I’m born that way.’ There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol.”

* “They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems 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.”

* “I believe that you will destroy the foundation of American society, because I believe the cornerstone of it is a man and a woman, the family…. And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of. Yep, the radical gay movement.”

Buttars added, “Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.