Josh Duggar: I Love and Respect Gays! But We Have Our Convictions ...

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Just because Josh Duggar is helping lead the fight against same-sex marriage doesn't mean he doesn't love and respect gay people, or so he says.

Josh Duggar, Siblings

The eldest of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting, Josh serves as executive director of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group.

In that post, he helps lobby against gay marriage in D.C. and nationwide.

He doesn’t want to give off the wrong impression, however ... or he's just in damage control due to the Duggar family's myriad recent controversies.

Whatever his motivation, he told the FRC’s Washington Watch radio show that his job doesn't mean he lacks great “love and respect” for homosexuals.

“I have so many people that I know who are gay. We have to go out there and show them the kind of love and respect that they deserve as human beings.”

Nice sentiment, right? Right. Of course, there's a BUT coming.

“We also have to stand up for our religious conscience rights,” the father of three (soon to be four, with Anna Duggar pregnant) argued in the same breath.

It's his job, he says, to "make sure certain people are protected…. We have to stand up and love and say, ‘We’re going to stand up for what’s right.’”

“We still love everyone as Christ commands, we still have compassion, we still have those feelings, but we also have convictions. We have our beliefs.”

Those beliefs don't change, he says, even with his own family.

Josh’s aunt, Michelle Duggar's sister Evelyn Ruark, identifies as a lesbian, whose "lifestyle" he disagrees with even though he still loves her dearly.

“I have an aunt who has chosen to live that life and I love my aunt. I think she is an amazing person,” he said last year, insisting that Ruark opposes gay marriage.

“She believes marriage is between one man and one woman.”

It's unclear if Michelle Duggar's lesbian sister really believes that, but whatever you think of his views, Josh is proving adept as a political operative.

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