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'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race 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 LemonBiden urges senators to have 'courage' for impeachment trial Biden lashes out at Graham on Ukraine: 'I'm just embarrassed by what you're doing' CNN's Don Lemon: I'm not some partisan liberal Democrat 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 BookerBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash 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.