Peter Renn

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Peter Renn is a Senior Attorney 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 people with HIV.

Renn handles impact and test case litigation that spans the needs of the LGBT community.  He has been on the front lines of constitutional litigation involving the rights of same-sex couples to have their relationships respected by the government.  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, which Renn argued to the Alaska Supreme Court.  That case struck down Alaska’s exclusion of same-sex couples from survivor benefits as unconstitutional and also resulted in one of the organization’s largest monetary recoveries on behalf of a single client.

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, a case in which the state civil rights agency has also intervened.  The case, which Renn successfully argued before the trial court and is now on appeal, advances the principle that a religious motivation does not create a right to discriminate in violation of civil rights laws.

Renn has worked on behalf of members within the LGBT community that experience significant discrimination.  He has represented transgender clients facing discrimination in the workplace as well as those seeking access to adequate healthcare.  He successfully argued a Ninth Circuit appeal on behalf of a transgender prisoner seeking access to medically necessary care.  Renn has also advocated on behalf of LGBT youth facing discrimination, harassment, and restrictions on their speech and activities at school.

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.