By Gary Anderson

December 6 - Pride House International has called on groups to set up remote Pride Houses during Sochi 2014 ©AFP/Getty ImagesGay rights organisation Pride House International is calling on groups around the world to host a series of rallies, gatherings and events during Sochi 2014 to highlight the anti-gay laws passed in Russia earlier this year.

Pride House claims that these actions can take a variety of forms and will be run in conjunction with events at the hospitality houses of various National Olympic Committees (NOCs) which form part of a campaign launched last month.

The organisation, a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sport and human rights groups, aims to establish Pride Houses at NOC hospitality houses in Sochi during the Games.

Last year a Russian judge banned the setting up of a Pride House during Sochi 2014 describing the idea as "extremist".

Pride Houses were established at Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 and are designed to provide a safe space and resource centre for gay athletes, coaches, volunteers and visitors.

"We have received some positive feedback from a small number of NOCs, including a project for a high-level meeting with one NOC in Sochi," said Pride House International's coordinator Lou Englefield.

"We hope to have more details soon.

"But from the outset, we knew that the world would have to show solidarity with athletes in Sochi and elsewhere in Russia with events outside the reach of the homophobic laws now in place within the Russian Federation."

Laws passed in Russia this year ban all gay pride rallies © AFP/Getty ImagesLaws passed in Russia this year ban all gay pride rallies © AFP/Getty Images

Pride House International claims that four "remote Pride Houses" are already on the way to being established in Toronto, Manchester, Washington and Glasgow.

The facility in Toronto will act as the Pride House for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, while Pride Sports UK will run the Manchester venue.

Team DC are hosting the Washington House while in Glasgow, it will be hosted by LEAP Sports/Commonwealth Games Pride House.

"A Pride House event can take any number of forms," said Daniel Vaudrin of the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA).

"There can be a film screening, a panel discussion, a rally, an exhibition, a lecture, a sporting tournament or match, or simply a viewing party bringing together LGBT athletes, fans, and allies.

"We expect that a highlight of any event will be information about the Russian LGBT Sports Federation's Open Games to be held in Moscow between the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

During the UEFA 2012 European Championships hosted by Poland and the Ukraine a remote Pride House was established in Warsaw but not in the Ukraine which, Armelle Mazé of the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation claims was down to "homophobic violence in the country".

This latest campaign has been sparked by the controversial laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June which bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors, while also proposing to fine or imprison anyone found to be expressing these views online or in news media.

It also bans any public gatherings or rallies supporting homosexual views.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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