Marriage Project Director (national position)
Midwest Regional Office
Camilla 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 currently represents 16 same-sex couples in Darby v. Orr, Lambda Legal's marriage equality lawsuit in Illinois, which was filed in May, 2012. She also 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.
Also in Iowa, Taylor represents married same-sex couples in two separate suits, Gartner v. Iowa Department of Public Health and Buntemeyer v. Iowa Department of Public Health, who seek 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. In another Iowa case in 2005, Taylor obtained a favorable ruling from the high court in Alons v. Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, which held that seven antigay legislators, a pastor and a church had no standing to challenge a judge's decision to grant two Iowa women a dissolution of their Vermont civil union.
Taylor has appeared before federal and state courts, such as in Catholic Charities v. Illinois and Ward v. Wilbanks, to challenge arguments by those who discriminate against 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 limit the harm caused by various state constitutional amendments that exclude same-sex couples from marriage. In numerous appeals from domestic violence convictions, including the Ohio Supreme Court case, State v. Carswell, Taylor opposed criminal defendants' claims that Ohio's constitutional amendment invalidates domestic violence protections for unmarried individuals. Also in Ohio and in Michigan, in appellate child custody cases including In re JDF, Morris v. Hawk, and Giancaspro v. Congelton, 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).