About Harvey Brownstone

Harvey Brownstone (born July 24, 1956) is a retired judge of the Ontario Court of Justice and was the first openly gay judge in Canada. He is also the bestselling author of "Tug of War: A Judge's Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court" and hosted "Family Matters with Justice Harvey Brownstone," a television talk show on matters involving the family justice system.

Harvey started his legal career in 1983 working as a Legal Aid defence lawyer in the Toronto criminal court.  He eventually took an interest in family law, and dedicated the balance of his career as a lawyer in the enforcement of child and spousal support.  In 1995, at the age of 38, he was appointed a judge.  He has presided in family and criminal courts.   He has been a trailblazer in several ways.  He was the first openly gay judge in Canada.  He was the first sitting judge in the world to write a national best seller and to host a TV talk show.  

Harvey has been a role model and icon in the LGBTQ community.  When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2003, he was the only judge to make himself publicly available to officiate at weddings for lesbian and gay couples travelling to Toronto from all over the world to get married.  In 2007, he officiated at the wedding of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, the American couple whose marriage triggered the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision overturning the definition of "spouse" in the federal Defence of Marriage Act.  

In February 2021, Harvey launched his online talk show "Harvey Brownstone Interviews" on his own YouTube channel. He saw this as an interesting hobby.   Within several months, the show attracted hundreds of thousands - and then eventually, millions - of viewers.  Because of the overwhelming success of the show, Harvey decided to retire from the judiciary on December 31, 2021 after having presided as a full-time judge for 26 1/2 years.  Free from the constraints imposed upon judges regarding the expression of opinions and the endorsement of private enterprise, Harvey now happily devotes his full-time attention to hosting "Harvey Brownstone Interviews" as a regular member of the public - albeit one with a rather illustrious and unique career history.  

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