Despite protests from many within the LGBT community, including a Change.org petition that gathered more than 28,000 signatures, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant will remain in Russia.
Bravo television host and celebrity Andy Cohen, who is openly gay and was slated to host the pageant, has told organizers that he is boycotting the event due to Russia’s "discriminatory" and "unsafe" policies.
The pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump, issues a statement saying it
"believes in equality for all individuals and is deeply concerned by the laws recently enacted in Russia and currently in place in several other countries." The statement also points out that Russia’s anti-LGBT laws are "diametrically opposed to the core values" of the company. “It is our hope this year's Miss Universe contest in Moscow will help foster a common understanding and appreciation of the rights of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation."
LGBT media watchdog organization GLAAD appears to agree with the pageant’s decision stating, "Miss Universe is an organization with incredible impact all around the globe. Following this important first statement, Miss Universe has a unique opportunity to continue to speak out against the anti-LGBT violence and laws in Russia and demonstrate that the international community does not support Russia's anti-LGBT brutality" said GLAAD spokesman Omar Shariff Jr.
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