Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office Turns 20
Find Your State
Legal Help Desk
Lambda Legal’s 40th anniversary isn’t the only landmark we’re celebrating this year: Our Midwest Regional Office in Chicago turns 20 years old.
The Windy City Times marks the occasion:
Cook County Circuit Judge Pat Logue, who was a board member at the time and later opened the Midwest Regional Office, remembered, "There was talk of expanding Lambda from just having a New York office to having additional offices and that growth, which did ultimately come to pass, prompted a lot of discussions.
"Chicago was identified early on as a place to open an office after Los Angeles. L.A. was done supposedly because of the money there and then Chicago was the next most obvious. So that is how we decided to do it, and it was prompted in large part because of Bon Foster."
Foster had attended Northwestern University Law School and passed away of AIDS in 1991 leaving behind money for a Lambda office to be set up in Chicago. The request stipulated that the funding had to be used within two years or it would be forfeited.
So, in 1993, Logue and assistant Mona Noriega (who is now the chair of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations) opened the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal in Chicago. It currently covers 10 states.
Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor, who is based in the Midwest Regional Office, talked to the Windy City Times about one of the office’s biggest victories, the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision that brought marriage equality to that state:
"Iowa actually has a long tradition of protecting civil rights, sometimes long before its neighboring states have done so. ... It was something that we depended upon when we filed our lawsuit," Taylor explained. "So we had a sense of confidence and a great deal of hope based on precedents in Iowa that interpreted the Iowa State Constitution in a broader way than the federal constitution is interpreted, and also in the people of Iowa."
Read the whole history here.
And join Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in commemorating its 20th anniversary at the Bon Foster Celebration, on Wednesday, April 24, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Tickets and more information here.