Peter Renn

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Peter Renn is Counsel in the Western 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 everyone living with HIV.

Renn handles impact and test case litigation that spans the needs of the LGBT community.  Most recently, he is counsel in Karnoski v. Trump, a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender people, which resulted in a preliminary injunction against the ban’s enforcement.  He is also counsel in Carcaño v. Cooper challenging North Carolina’s discriminatory laws denying transgender people equal access to public facilities.

Renn has been on the front lines of constitutional litigation involving the rights of same-sex couples.  He was part of the legal team in Sevcik v. Sandoval that won the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Nevada and established the legal precedent enabling other same-sex couples to marry throughout the western United States.  He also represented the same-sex partner of a shooting victim in Harris v. Millennium Hotel, in which the Alaska Supreme Court struck down the exclusion of same-sex couples from survivor benefits as unconstitutional.  He defended the rights of married same-sex parents against attack in a case before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.

Renn has worked on behalf of members of the LGBT community facing significant discrimination.  He successfully argued a Ninth Circuit appeal on behalf of a transgender prisoner seeking access to medically necessary care in Rosati v. Igbinoso.  He obtained a ruling that Idaho’s refusal to provide transgender people with birth certificates matching their gender identity was unconstitutional in F.V. v. Barron.  Renn has also advocated on behalf of LGBT youth facing discrimination, harassment, and restrictions on their speech and activities at school.

Renn has fought to defend nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people against constitutional attack, including on religious grounds.  He represents a lesbian couple who were turned away from a business establishment in Hawai‘i because of the business owner’s religious beliefs in Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast.  He also represented a transgender customer who was turned away by a California barbershop in Oliver v. The Barbershop because of the business owner’s religious beliefs relating to gender expression.

Renn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.  Following law school, Renn clerked for the Honorable Lawrence K. Karlton in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.  He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in psychology and Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin.  Before joining Lambda Legal, Renn was a litigation associate at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles.  He is a recipient of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 Award.  Renn is a member of the California bar.