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. 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. Also in Iowa, Taylor obtained a favorable ruling from the state high court in 2005 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 numerous Ohio courts to make clear that Ohio's 2004 antigay constitutional amendment, while spiteful and discriminatory, does not leave unmarried people broadly unprotected. In numerous appeals from domestic violence convictions, including the Ohio Supreme Court case, State v. Carswell, Taylor authored amicus briefs opposing 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 the 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.
Advocating for persons with HIV, Taylor helped secure a favorable settlement in Roe v. Westmont for a highly qualified police officer who was denied a job after the department discovered his HIV status in a pre-employment physical exam. In another HIV-related employment discrimination case, TeVoert v. OSF HealthCare System, Taylor obtained a settlement on behalf of an Illinois radiology technician. Taylor also has advocated on behalf of gay and lesbian parents eager to obtain accurate birth certificates for their children, and her work on this front played a significant role in reversing the Michigan registrar's prior policy of refusing to place the names of both same-sex parents on a child's birth certificate. Also, in a case that later was dismissed after Missouri's consensual sodomy laws were invalidated as a result of Lambda Legal's Supreme Court victory in Lawrence v. Texas, Taylor advocated for Missouri individuals prosecuted under those laws.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Taylor was a staff attorney with the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the Legal Aid Society of New York City. She represented indigent defendants on appeal before the New York Appellate Divisions, First and Second Departments, and the New York Court of Appeals. In June, 2002, Taylor won a ruling before the New York Court of Appeals in People v. Arnold that established strict guidelines in New York State for judicial intervention in criminal trials. Before her work with the Legal Aid Society of New York City, Taylor was 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 also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law.