Born in Brooklyn and raised in Pittsburgh, Wolfson graduated from Yale in 1978. For two years, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Togo, West Africa. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1983, and teaching political philosophy at Harvard College, Wolfson served as assistant district attorney for Kings County (Brooklyn).
Wolfson served in Washington, D.C., as associate counsel to Lawrence Walsh in the Office of Independent Counsel (Iran/Contra). In 1992, he served on the New York State Task Force on Sexual Harassment. Wolfson is adjunct professor of law at Columbia, and also has taught at Rutgers University law school. In June, the National Law Journal honored Wolfson's civil rights leadership by naming him one of the 100 most influential attorneys in America.
Evan Wolfson has worked full time at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund since 1989. As director of Lambda's Marriage Project, Wolfson coordinates the National Freedom to Marry Coalition and leads the national movement for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Wolfson contributed his expertise and drafted Lambda's amicus brief in Baker v. Vermont, in which the Vermont Supreme Court ordered the state to treat gay and married couples equally. In response, state legislators created "civil unions" a new legal marital status for same-sex couples.
On April 26, 2000, Wolfson became the first Lambda attorney to argue before the United States Supreme Court, urging the Justices to reject an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America of a unanimous ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court striking down BSA’s ban on gay members and leaders. Wolfson represented Eagle Scout James Dale since he was expelled from the BSA in 1990.
In other Lambda cases, Wolfson has championed lesbian and gay military personnel fighting for the right to serve; gay parents wishing to adopt children and preserve visitation rights; a Florida deputy sheriff fired for being gay; a person with AIDS seeking life-saving medical treatment refused by his insurer; a woman denied work as a Dallas police officer because of the state anti-gay "sodomy" law; and New York City employees demanding equal health benefits and recognition for their partners.
Wolfson has published numerous articles on sexual orientation and civil rights concerns, and is a frequent speaker on such topics. As a pro bono cooperating attorney for Lambda from 1984 to 1989, Wolfson wrote Lambda's amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick and NGTF v. Board of Education of Oklahoma City.