Houston-based mega church minister Joel Osteen said on Sunday that same sex marriage should be illegal, but insisted he was "not for discriminating against gay people."
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked the pastor if being gay was a sin.
"I believe that the scripture says that being gay is a sin," Osteen smiled. "You know, every time I say that, Chris, I get people saying, 'You're a gay hater and you're a gay basher.' I'm not. I don't dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world. But my faith is based on what the scripture says, and that's the way I read the scripture."
Wallace also pressed the preacher on the issue of marriage equality.
"I don't think we should discriminate against anybody," Osteen replied. "There was an issue where somebody couldn't go visit a gay loved one in the hospital. I don't think that's right. I think they love each other. So, I think there should be some [rights]."
"I'm not for gay marriage, but I'm not for discriminating against people."
But while Osteen thought that LGBT people should be excluded from the institution of marriage, he didn't feel the same when it came to Mormons being labeled as Christians.
"I believe they're followers of Christ," the Dallas pastor said of Mormons like presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. "I don't believe that Mormonism is traditional orthodox Christianity. I realize there's differences there, but I go back to when I hear Mitt Romney and some of my Mormon friends say, 'I love Jesus. He's my savior. I believe he was raised from the dead.'"
"They follow the teachings of the Bible. I believe they are followers of Christ and that they're my brothers. And I'm not looking to exclude them and, you know, push them out."