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WASHINGTON – Under direct questioning from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), IRS Commissioner John Koskinen promised Wednesday that he would not issue new regulations stripping religious institutions of their non-profit status due to their belief that only men and women can be joined in marriage.

“Will you commit to me that as long as you remain on as the commissioner of the IRS, you will not, in the absence of a directive by Congress or by the courts, a subsequent directive, one not in place right now, that you will not take any action to remove the tax exempt status from religious colleges or universities based on their belie that the marriage is between a man and a woman,” Lee asked at a Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

“I can make that commitment,” Koskinen said.

“While I greatly appreciate Commissioner Koskinen’s word that he will not target religious institutions for their religious beliefs,” Lee said after the hearing, “it worries me and it should worry every American that the IRS does not absolutely disavow the power to target religious institutions based on their religious beliefs, even if the current IRS commissioner has committed not to use that power for the time being.”

“That is why I have introduced the First Amendment Defense Act,” Lee continued, legislation that would prevent any federal government agency from taking adverse action against any religious institution for their marriage beliefs.”