Openly gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts criticized Russia's anti-gay law while in Moscow to host the Miss Universe pageant.

Roberts said in accepting the gig that he wanted to co-host the pageant “partly because it is a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people. Everywhere.”

“I know that the law is very vague and still hard to interpret for many people,” Roberts said while on the show's red carpet Saturday. “But it is discrimination and that's definitive. And I don't think that the LGBT population in Russia or anywhere should be marginalized to that degree.”

“We're not asking for special protection,” Roberts added. “We're just asking for equal protection.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Roberts' statements were in direct contradiction to President Vladimir Putin, who has said that the nation's prohibition on “gay propaganda” to minors is “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.”

(Related: Donald Trump “evolving” on gay marriage.)