PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island lawmaker is under fire for making “reprehensible and insulting” comments while speaking to a colleague during a hearing last week.

It all started when Republican Rep. Robert Quattrocchi and Democratic Rep. Rebecca Kislak began discussing legislation that would require lawmakers to attach equity impact statements to every bill introduced to the R.I. General Assembly.

“In my thinking about bills I want to represent … Do I have to take into account, for instance, religion?” Quattrocchi questioned. “Do I have to take into account how it affects Satanists in Rhode Island? Or do I have to take into account with sexual orientation, how it affects pedophiles in Rhode Island?”

“Well first I want to point out that being a pedophile is not a sexual orientation,” Kislak responded. “So, my equity right now is pointing out that that was really offensive.”

Quattrochi then appeared to sheepishly apologize for his remarks.

“Oh I didn’t mean to — are you a pedophile? I’m sorry,” he said.

R.I. House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi described Quattrocchi’s comments as “reprehensible and insulting to a colleague.”

“This was not in keeping with the decorum of the House of Representatives as an inclusive institution,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, Quattrocchi said he apologized to Kislak “on four different occasions” for misunderstanding her. He declined to provide further comment.

The Rhode Island Democratic Party released a statement Tuesday afternoon condemning Quattrocchi’s “dangerous and hateful rhetoric.”

“The hateful behavior displayed by Rep. Quattrocchi in a public hearing is beneath the dignity of an elected official,” the statement reads. “Rhode Island has a proud tradition of tolerance and the RI Democratic Party is proud to stand up for the rights and safety of our LGBTQ+ community.”

It’s unclear at this time whether Quattrocchi will be reprimanded for his remarks.

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