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FLASHBACK: FEBRUARY 1993 IN LGBT HISTORY

Canada’s first gay right’s case

 
In 1985, Brian Mossop, a gay man from Toronto, was denied bereavement leave to attend his partner’s father’s funeral. 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 the Federal Court of Appeals 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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