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Martha McCarthy

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Martha McCarthy is a Canadian lawyer who has represented same-sex couples who have changed the definition of marriage in Ontario and the Yukon.

McCarthy passed the Bar in Ontario in 1991, winning the Silver Medal and the Family Law and Advocacy Prizes, and has practiced family law since then. She was counsel for M. in M. v. H.,[1] which, after eight years and a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, resulted in widespread amendments to include gays and lesbians as spouses in both federal and provincial legislation. In 2000, she commenced the equal marriage case Halpern, which resulted in the first decision in the country and internationally calling for immediate same-sex marriage, effective June 10, 2003. Martha later acted for the Hendricks couple in Quebec, and the Dunbar couple in the Yukon in cases that opened up equal marriage in those provinces as well. She was counsel to the Ontario and Quebec couples on the Supreme Court Marriage Reference and, just to complete the circle, was also counsel to the applicant in the first same-sex divorce in Canada.

Apart from gay and lesbian equality issues, Martha's areas of specialty include the interaction of family issues with business organization and valuation, shareholders' remedies, marriage contracts, equality claims in family law, child representation and the effect of divorce on children. She is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a frequent advocate, author and commentator on issues of gay and lesbian equality, and our evolving concept of family.

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