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Formed in 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 set up in other cities in Canada.
One of the first high-profile cases launched for gay rights in Canada was launched by Vancouver G.A.T.E. 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.