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O'Rourke: Religious institutions should lose tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage

O'Rourke: Religious institutions should lose tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage
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Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized Mexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram MORE said Thursday that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage. 

"Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage?" CNN anchor Don LemonDon Carlton LemonDon Lemon says media needs time to stop talking Trump, compares it to breakup Trump revives 'The Snake' reading at North Carolina rally Don Lemon: 'Had to get rid of' friends who support Trump MORE asked O'Rourke at the network's Equality Townhall.

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"Yes," the former Texas congressman responded. "There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone, or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us." 

"As president, we're going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans," he said.

The response is likely to receive pushback from certain religious groups, which have long opposed efforts to remove their tax-exempt status. Critics have said they oppose same-sex marriage due to their religious beliefs.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis MORE (D-N.J.) was asked the same question earlier at the town hall Thursday night, but declined to give a yes or no answer.

“I’m not saying, because I know this is a long legal battle. I’m not dodging your question. I’m saying I believe fundamentally that discrimination is discrimination,” Booker said.

“And if you are using your position to try to discriminate others, there must be consequences to that. And I will make sure to hold them accountable using the DOJ or whatever investigatory. You cannot discriminate," he added.