2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (D) on Sunday took aim at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) for saying that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage, arguing the policy would only “deepen the divisions we’re already experiencing.”
“I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions. But the idea that you’re going to strip churches of their tax exempt status if they haven’t found their way towards blessing same-sex marriage, I’m not sure [O’Rourke] understood the implications of what he was saying,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on CNN’s “State of The Union” while discussing comments O’Rourke made during the network’s LGBT town hall.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 14, 2019
“That means going to war not only with churches, but I would think with mosques and a lot of organizations that may not have the same view of various religious principles that I do. But also because of the separation of church and state are acknowledged as nonprofits in this country.”
Buttigieg went on to emphasize that anti-discrimination laws must be followed by religious institutions. But he stressed that “going after the tax exemption of churches, islamic centers or other religious facilities in this county” would potentially cause more polarization in the country.
The comments came just days after O’Rourke, a 2020 presidential candidate, came under fire from conservatives for asserting that religious institutions like colleges, churches and charities should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose gay marriage.
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