Buttigieg Hits O’Rourke Call to Tax Places of Worship For Discriminating Against LGBTQ People: Not Sure He ‘Understood the Implications’


Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg ripped his rival Beto O’Rourke’s proposed policy of taxing places of worship who discriminate against LGBTQ people, as he argued that the move would instigate a federal “war” against churches.

The Southbend mayor made the comment on CNN’s State of the Union after host Jake Tapper asked the Democratic candidate about comments O’Rourke made during a Thursday CNN town hall on LGBTQ issues; the former Texas lawmaker argued that if religious institutions refuse to accommodate gay employees, they should lose tax-exempt status.

“I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions, but the idea that you are going to strip churches of their tax exempt status if they haven’t found their way toward blessing same-sex marriage — I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying,” Buttigieg said. “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 non-profits in this country.”

The openly gay, 37-year-old mayor went on to say again that LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws should be in place at schools and other organizations, but argued that applying the same standard to places of worship could backfire: “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 we are already experiencing.”

On Thursday’s 2020 town hall on gay and trans issues, O’Rourke insisted that “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,” a comment that enraged a number of traditionally conservative media figures.

“And so as president, we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans,” O’Rourke added.

Watch above, via CNN.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: caleb@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma