Paul Castillo is a Staff Attorney in the South Central 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. His work at Lambda Legal includes the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, employment discrimination, family law, students’ rights and transgender rights.
Castillo has been actively involved in implementing Lambda Legal’s strategy for winning the freedom to marry throughout the United States. He is lead counsel in Bogan v Baskin, representing five same-sex couples and their families seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana. After securing an emergency order directing the state to recognize the out-of-state marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who battles stage four ovarian cancer, the Baskin legal team secured victory after a federal district court judge struck down Indiana’s marriage ban as unconstitutional in June 2014. Shortly thereafter, in the first unanimous victory at the federal appellate level striking down state marriage bans for same-sex couples, the Seventh Circuit issued an unprecedented decision for the circuit declaring all laws singling out people on the basis of their sexual orientation are presumptively unconstitutional and warrant elevated scrutiny. In September 2014, Castillo and his team immediately responded to a petition by the Indiana Attorney General, urging the United States Supreme Court to consider Baskin during its October 2014 term.
Castillo also serves as co-counsel for Lambda Legal in Henry v. Himes, a challenge to Ohio’s marriage recognition ban that successfully secured accurate birth certificates for clients after victory in the Southern District of Ohio. Henry is currently before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Castillo authored a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the Texas Supreme Court in In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B. arguing that Texas must allow resident same-sex couples married out-of-state access to divorce.
Notably, Castillo has also been a strong advocate for LGBT service members and veterans. Shortly following the decision by the United States Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, he successfully represented Alicia Butler and her wife, 1st Lt. Judith Chedville, a member of the Texas National Guard, who were turned away from enrolling for federal benefits at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. His advocacy for equal treatment of military personnel and their families led to Texas Military Forces reversing its position to follow Department of Defense guidelines. Castillo also serves as co-counsel in American Military Partner Association v. McDonald, a federal lawsuit against the Secretary of Veteran Affairs asserting the constitutional rights of veterans and their same-sex spouses who reside in states that will not respect their marriage, thereby denying them critical and earned benefits following years of service to our country.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Mr. Castillo enforced federal civil rights statutes for the United States Department of Education, Office or Civil Rights (OCR). Moreover, he gained significant experience as a private practice litigator in Ohio representing clients in federal and state courts dealing with a variety of employment, commercial, real estate and insurance matters. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Mr. Castillo is a member of the state bars of Texas and Ohio.