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Canada’s first gay rights case

Canada’s first gay right case

In 1985, Brian Mos­sop, a gay man from Toronto, was de­nied be­reave­ment leave to at­tend the fu­neral of his part­ner ’s father. He was de­nied since same-sex part­ners, at the time, were not con­sid­ered im­me­di­ate fam­ily. Mos­sop took the case to the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, and the Com­mis­sion found in his favour, but the Cana­dian govern­ment ap­pealed the de­ci­sion to the Fed­eral Court of Ap­peals. When that court found oth­er­wise, the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada. On Fe­bru­ary 25, 1993, the Supreme Court up­held the ap­peals court de­ci­sion, rul­ing that the de­nial of be­reave­ment leave to a gay part­ner is not dis­crim­i­na­tion based on fam­ily sta­tus de­fined in the Cana­dian Hu­man Rights Act. It was the first Supreme Court case to ex­plic­itly take up a ques­tion of LGBT equal­ity rights, and de­spite the rul­ing, the case opened up the na­tional dis­cus­sion on gay rights in Canada.

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