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Buttigieg dismisses O'Rourke proposal to strip religious tax exemptions

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg pushed back on fellow 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke's proposal to strip religious institutions of their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage, arguing that it would just "deepen the divisions that we're already experiencing."

"I’m not sure [O'Rourke] understood the implications of what he was saying. I mean, 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. So, if we want to talk about anti-discrimination law for a school or an organization, absolutely. They should not be able to discriminate. But going after the tax-exemption of churches, Islamic centers or other religious facilities in this country, I think that's just going to deepen the divisions that we're already experiencing.
— Pete Buttigieg

The big picture: Last week, O'Rourke argued that religious institutions like schools or churches should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose gay marriage, framing it as a violation of non-discrimination law. Buttigieg argues that while schools or organizations are fair game, targeting churches or other places of worship is misguided.

  • Conservatives harshly criticized O'Rourke's remarks for infringing on religious freedom.
  • Buttigieg himself is a gay man and a devout Christian who often speaks about the intersection of his faith and sexuality has shaped his worldview.

Go deeper ... 2020 Democrats' LGBTQ town hall: What you need to know