Guatemalan groups are considering
protests against a Rhode Island Republican lawmaker after he made a
“joke” about the legislature's agenda of gay marriage,
immigration, gambling and medical marijuana.
House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson
said his comments at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce's
annual lunch for legislators on Wednesday were meant to be humorous.
“I guess that if you are a Guatemalan
gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana, you probably think
we're onto some good ideas here,” Watson said, referring to the
Juan Garcia, president of the
Immigrants in Action Committee in Providence, denounced the comments.
“At the end of the day, I don't think
his intention was to directly insult us, but he did,” Garcia told
The Providence Journal.
In a radio interview, the 50-year-old
Watson denied he insulted anyone.
“I reject the suggestion that it's
insulting,” he said.
“The truth of this is, we are
preoccupied with a number of issues, primarily social issues, at a
time when financially, we are burning to the ground,” he added.
Garcia called the remarks “tainted
with prejudice” in calling for a public apology.