- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, said Thursday he would strip the Catholic Church, most evangelical churches, practically every mosque and all related institutions of any tax exemptions and government benefits.

He also vowed to make it a “priority” to “stop” such religions and even individuals.

At a CNN forum on LGBTQ issues, Mr. O’Rourke was asked by moderator Don Lemon, who is gay, whether “you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage.”

An unhesitating Mr. O’Rourke answered “yes.”

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His answer was met with a round of applause before he could even give his explanation that opposition to gay marriage should disqualify persons or groups from government benefits or tax breaks.

“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,” he replied.

“And so as president, we are 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 concluded.

He did not elaborate on how a religious teaching that “oppose[s]” something is a human-rights violation.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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