SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Religious groups in the Dominican Republic say they are outraged by the nomination of a gay U.S. ambassador to the conservative Caribbean country.

James "Wally" Brewster would be the seventh U.S. ambassador in history to be openly gay, but opponents on Friday asked the administration of Dominican President Danilo Medina to reject his nomination.

Without elaborating, Vicar Pablo Cedano said the nomination showed a lack of respect and warned that Brewster will have a hard time on the island "and be forced to leave."

U.S. Embassy spokesman Daniel Foote said in a brief statement to reporters that Brewster was nominated because of his skills as an international businessman and because of his ideas about democracy and human rights.

Officials with Medina's administration have declined to comment on the issue.