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'RourkeVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection Trump mocks Booker over suspended presidential campaign 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 LemonAnderson Cooper, Andy Cohen paired for third straight CNN's New Year Eve CNN's Lemon stunned by 'stupid, juvenile' Trump-Thanos meme: 'Are you people insane?' Biden urges senators to have 'courage' for impeachment trial 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 Anthony BookerBlack caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Patrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' 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.