Gay Alliance Toward Equality
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Formed in spring 1971 in Vancouver, British Columbia, GATE was the first Canadian gay group to explicitly discuss and plan civil rights strategies for achieving gay and lesbian equality under Canadian law. Autonomous groups with the same name were subsequently set up in other cities in Canada, including Edmonton and Toronto.
One of the first high-profile cases launched for gay rights in Canada was launched by the Vancouver chapter of GATE in response to the Vancouver Sun's refusal to allow for a paid advertisement for the GATE newspaper, Gay Tide. This would become the first gay rights case to reach the Supreme Court of Canada, although the judges ruled 6-3 in favour of the Vancouver Sun.
Other prominent activities taken on by the group included picketing various human rights commissions over the lack of human rights protection for sexual orientation under Canadian law, and taking on an advocacy role in the wrongful dismissal suit of John Damien when the Ontario Racing Commission fired him as a racing steward because of his sexuality.
The Toronto group led a successful campaign in 1973 to lobby Toronto City Council to adopt a policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in municipal hiring, making the city the first jurisdiction in Canada to do so.
The group dissolved in 1980.
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