Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) released a statement Friday condemning Beto O’Rourke for “extreme intolerance” after O’Rourke advocated revoking tax-exempt status from churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
“This bigoted nonsense would target a lot of sincere Christians, Jews, and Muslims,” wrote Sasse. “Leaders from both parties have a duty to flatly condemn this attack on very basic American freedoms.”
“This extreme intolerance is un-American,” Sasse went on. “The whole point of the First Amendment is that…everyone is created with dignity and we don’t use government power to decide which religious beliefs are legitimate and which aren’t.”
O’Rourke touted his LGBT rights platform at a CNN town hall event on Thursday, telling the crowd he supported removing tax-exempt status from churches, religious schools, and charities if they are against same-sex marriages.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone … that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” O’Rourke told the audience.
O’Rourke previously drew condemnation from conservatives after pledging at the third Democratic primary debate to confiscate semi-automatic rifles from their legal owners. O’Rourke is currently polling nationally at just below two percent of the Democratic vote.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren released her own LGBT rights platform in which she promises to provide government funding for gender transition surgeries for inmates. In addition, she pledged to incarcerate transgender inmates with prisoners of the opposite biological sex, meaning that a transgender man would be placed in a women’s prison.