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Beto O'Rourke promises to strip churches of tax-exempt status if they don't support gay marriage

"...we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the civil rights of our fellow Americans."

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made an admission during a CNN town hall event on LGBTQ policies that is sure to be featured on many Republican political ads.

O'Rourke affirmed that he would strip churches and other organizations of their tax-exempt status if they refused to support the LGBT cause by opposing same-sex marriage.

CNN's Don Lemon asked O'Rourke how far the government should punish organizations for following traditional religious beliefs about marriage.

"This is from your LGBTQ plan, and here's what you write, here's a quote, 'Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but it should not be used to discriminate,'" Lemon said.

"Do you think religious institutions, like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?" Lemon asked.

"Yes," O'Rourke said simply to a loud applause from the LGBTQ audience.

"There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for any one or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us," O'Rourke added.

"And so as as president, we're gonna make that a priority," he said, "and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the civil rights of our fellow Americans."

Here's the video of the Beto declaration:

One last thing…
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