Hamilton judge advocating for same-sex rights

If you’ve been watching the news this week, you’ll know that the U.S. has declared that all same-sex couples, even those in states which don’t recognize same sex marriage, will receive the same rights as heterosexual couples in court proceedings, the prison system, and in bankruptcy proceedings.

Interestingly, as this CBC article discusses, the movement for same-sex rights in the U.S. was helped along back in 2007 when a family court judge from Hamilton, Justice Harvey Brownstone, married lesbian couple Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer in Toronto. When Thea died shortly afterwards (resulting in a tax bill to Edith of almost 400K because their union was not recognized), it led to a court case which ended in the Defence of Marriage Act being struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

The article mentions that as “the first openly gay judge in Canada”, Brownstone has married many couples from outside of Canada since 2003.