Camilla B. Taylor is the Marriage Project Director (national position) in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV. In addition to marriage work, Taylor’s litigation docket includes a diverse array of legal matters that span family law, employment discrimination, criminal law and advocacy on behalf of transgender clients.
Taylor was lead counsel in Lambda Legal's marriage equality lawsuit in Iowa, Varnum v. Brien, in which the Iowa Supreme Court, by unanimous decision, struck down Iowa’s marriage ban in April 2009, making Iowa the third state in the country to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry. She also has been counsel in numerous other marriage lawsuits around the country, including Bogan v. Baskin, a federal suit challenging Indiana’s marriage ban. In Baskin, a federal district court for the Southern District of Indiana held unconstitutional Indiana’s marriage ban in June, 2014. In September, 2014, the Seventh Circuit affirmed in a sweeping decision declaring that all laws singling out people on the basis of their sexual orientation are presumptively unconstitutional and warrant elevated scrutiny. The Indiana Attorney General petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review this decision.
Other past or present marriage cases on Taylor’s docket include Darby v. Orr, a case in state court representing 16 couples seeking to marry in Illinois, Gray v. Orr, a federal suit that obtained an emergency order allowing an Illinois woman with terminal cancer to marry her longtime partner, Lee v. Orr, a federal class action lawsuit that struck down Illinois’ marriage ban as unconstitutional, McGee v. Cole, a federal challenge to West Virginia’s marriage ban, and Jorgensen v. Montplaisir, a federal challenge to North Dakota’s marriage ban. Taylor is also part of the team of co-counsel on appeal in Robicheaux v. George, a challenge to Louisiana’s marriage ban, which is currently before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Taylor has contributed friend-of-the-court briefs in numerous federal and state cases challenging marriage discrimination, including before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Herbert v. Kitchen and Bishop v. Smith, in which the appeals court affirmed decisions striking down Utah’s and Oklahoma’s marriage bans, respectively, and before the Sixth Circuit in Obergefell v. Himes, concerning Ohio’s marriage ban.
In states where same-sex couples have won the freedom to marry, Taylor has challenged states’ refusal to provide equal marital benefits and protections to same-sex spouses and their children, winning victories in Gartner v. Iowa Department of Public Health and Buntemeyer v. Iowa Department of Public Health, on behalf of same-sex spouses who sought accurate two-parent vital records (a birth certificate and death certificate, respectively) from the State of Iowa for their children in reliance on the spousal presumption of parentage.
Taylor has appeared before federal and state courts, such as in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sibelius, Odgaard v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Catholic Charities v. Illinois and Ward v. Wilbanks, in friend-of-the-court briefs or as party counsel to challenge arguments by those who discriminate against women and LGBT people that a religious motive exempts such discrimination from coverage under generally applicable non-discrimination requirements.
Taylor also has participated in numerous cases to secure respect for parent-child relationships, including in appellate child custody cases such as In re JDF, Morris v. Hawk, and Giancaspro v. Congelton, where Taylor successfully defended lesbian parents against efforts by their former partners to deprive them of any contact with their children based on arguments that their respective state’s antigay constitutional amendment invalidates same-sex couples’ adoption decrees or agreements to share custody of the children they have parented together from birth.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Taylor was a staff attorney with the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the Legal Aid Society of New York City and a litigation associate with Shearman & Sterling.
Taylor received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her B.A. from Yale College. She is currently an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, and serves on the American Constitution Society Chicago Chapter Board of Advisors. In 2009, she was named one of Crain's Chicago Business' "40 under 40." Recognition for her work also includes a Matthew Shepard Scholarship Award for Leadership (2009), Laurel School Young Alumna of Distinction award (2009), Columbia Law School Public Interest Initiative Distinguished Graduate award (2012), and American Constitution Society Ruth Goldman Award (2012).