Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke defended his LGBT platform during a CNN town hall on Thursday night, calling for religious institutions to lose their tax-exempt status for opposing gay marriage on First-Amendment grounds.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone … that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.” O’Rourke told a cheering audience. “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.”
Earlier during CNN’s “Equality in America” town hall, Democratic Senator Cory Booker was asked the same question, and vowed “consequences” for religious institutions, but did not say outright whether they would lose tax-exempt status.
O’Rourke also made headlines in September when he vowed to revoke the NRA’s tax exempt status, a move that came after he advocated for a ban of assault-style weapons and mandatory gun confiscation during the September debate in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
“When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” O’Rourke said. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”