Tara Borelli is Counsel in the Southern 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. Borelli's work at Lambda Legal includes litigation seeking greater relationship recognition for same-sex couples, and strengthening antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people and those living with HIV.
Borelli is co-counsel in Sevcik v. Sandoval, a federal case seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in Nevada. Borelli also is co-counsel in Harris v. McDonnell, a federal case seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Virginia. Borelli was also co-counsel in Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, obtaining a district court ruling that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and that classifications based on sexual orientation are entitled to heightened constitutional review. Borelli also was co-counsel in Young v. Lingle, a case seeking civil unions for same-sex couples in Hawaii, which the legislature approved after Lambda Legal filed its lawsuit. Borelli helped secure equal treatment for California registered domestic partners in Ellis v. Arriaga, obtaining a decision from California's Fourth Appellate District confirming that domestic partners have the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual spouses. Borelli applied the same principle to same-sex spouses in California by negotiating on behalf of SkyWest Airlines employee Gilbert Caldwell to secure equal employment benefits for Caldwell’s spouse.
Borelli coordinates Lambda Legal’s work on health care fairness, which includes litigation to obtain equal access to family health benefits and enforce antidiscrimination protections in health care settings. Borelli is lead counsel in Diaz v. Brewer, a federal challenge seeking to protect family health insurance for Arizona state employees after the legislature voted to strip that insurance from lesbians and gay men. Borelli also was co-counsel in Esquivel v. Oregon, a case resulting in settlement removing restrictions on transition-related care for all transgender employees of the State of Oregon. Borelli previously obtained equal family health coverage for Washington firefighter paramedics and a lead 911 dispatcher in deGroen v. City of Bellevue, and for police officers in Redmond, Washington. Borelli also represented an Eastern Washington man denied medical care because he is gay, resulting in a settlement agreement with strong protections to help prevent future discrimination.
Borelli also has advocated on behalf of LGBT and allied students in California, Oregon and Washington who have faced bullying and harassment, unlawful restrictions on their Gay Straight Alliance activities, and unconstitutional limitations on their right to be openly gay in school.
Borelli's work has been recognized with Equality Arizona's Barry Goldwater Human Rights Award (2013), and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom's Legal Service Award (2012). Borelli was named by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Top 100 Lawyers (2012) and Top Women Lawyers (2012), and as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association (2011).
Borelli received her J.D. from Boalt Hall, the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the State Bars of California and Washington.