Paul L. Caron

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Beto O’Rourke: Churches Should Lose Tax-Exempt Status If They Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

The New Republic, Beto O’Rourke Is Out Over His Skis:

Desperate to stand out, he has proposed perhaps the worst idea of the Democratic primary.

Democratic presidential candidates have spent the year introducing wave after wave of new policy ideas. Some of them are excellent. Others are interesting. And a few would be disastrous. Beto O’Rourke’s call last week to deny tax-exempt status to churches and other religious institutions if they oppose marriage equality falls squarely within the last category.

The former Texas representative backed the idea at last week’s CNN town hall on LGBT issues. “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities—should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” moderator Don Lemon asked him. “Yes,” O’Rourke quickly replied. “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. So as president we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing on the rights of our fellow Americans.”

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It's a manifestation of the liberal mentality generally. No form of advocacy or voluntary association is permissible if it violates the tastes and prejudices of liberals, who assign lawyers the task of vetting everyone's activities. See also the controversies on college campuses, where evangelical student associations are treated like children or criminals, and told they cannot screen their membership or even their leadership. Look at the nonsense headlines " Beto O’Rourke’s ‘Church Tax’ Idea Plays Into Conservative Paranoia About Same-Sex Marriage "; it's difficult to tell whether those writing this headline are stupid or they think we are.

Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 20, 2019 10:53:45 AM

Well then, maybe SCOTUS needs to overturn that Obergerfell after Roe... ; )

Posted by: Anon | Oct 20, 2019 11:21:41 AM

For those who might be interested, I've offered some commentary on Beto's statement – and how it is a symptom of a larger, longstanding misunderstanding around the IRS rule – in the following two threads:

Note: Although Paul correctly reports that Beto's initial statement extended to churches, he has since walked back that statement, presumably because someone explained that the Bob Jones Court emphasized that the IRS rule it was upholding in that case did not extend to churches. But even as revised, Beto's position – like far too much commentary on the issue, including from legal academics and advocates – does not account for how race has historically been treated differently for purposes of the IRS rule (as a sole exception) than it has been treated in other contexts (as a model for prohibiting other types of discrimination).

Posted by: Jim Oleske | Oct 20, 2019 12:38:37 PM

He's really getting desperate, isn't he?

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 23, 2019 4:09:04 AM