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'RourkeDeval Patrick enters 2020 race O'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' 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 LemonConservatives slam Beto O'Rourke over threat to tax-exempt status for religious organizations CNN LGBTQ town hall interrupted by protesters O'Rourke: Religious institutions should lose tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage 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 BookerNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Overnight Health Care: Warren promises gradual move to 'Medicare for All' | Rivals dismiss Warren plan for first 100 days | White House unveils rules on disclosing hospital prices | Planned Parenthood wins case against anti-abortion group 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.