The National LGBT Bar Association has named Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan to its annual list of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
The annual list, unveiled today at the annual Lavender Law Conference in Washington, D.C., features 40 LGBT legal professionals under the age of 40 who “have distinguished themselves in their field and have demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBT equality.”
While Gonzalez-Pagan’s work spans all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education efforts, he focuses particularly on relationship recognition, LGBT youth, transition-related health care, and issues affecting Spanish-speaking LGBT and HIV-affected communities.
Gonzalez-Pagan played an active role in securing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and their families across the United States. As a member of the legal team in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, Gonzalez-Pagan helped secure marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court.
He also was lead counsel in Conde-Vidal v. Rius-Armendariz, the successful challenge to Puerto Rico’s marriage ban, and was co-counsel in Robicheaux v. Caldwell, the challenge to Louisiana’s marriage ban.
Gonzalez-Pagan currently is lead counsel inSmith v. Avanti, a federal housing discrimination case against a Colorado property owner and landlord who refused to rent to a same-sex couple, one of whom is transgender, and their children on account of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and familial status.
He also is co-counsel in Hamm v. City of New York, a federal lawsuit against New York City and Department of Correction officers and supervisors on behalf of a gay man brutally attacked while visiting his incarcerated partner at a Rikers Island correctional facility.
Gonzalez-Pagan additionally has provided amicus support to several asylum seekers facing persecution in their home countries because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.
He has also represented numerous transgender youth seeking appropriate respect for their gender identities in schools and transgender individuals who received unequal treatment in health care.
“This is well-deserved recognition for Omar and his exceptional work securing and preserving rights for transgender students, same-sex couples and people living with HIV,” said Jon Davidson, Legal Director for Lambda Legal and Eden/Rushing Chair. “His work reflects a commitment to secure the rights of LGBT and HIV-positive people no matter where they live or come from. Omar successfully sought to ensure that the fundamental right to marry extends to same-sex couple in the territories, like Puerto Rico and Guam. He has highlighted the rampant abuse and discrimination LGBT people face in the criminal justice system by seeking redress for a gay man who was assaulted by correctional officers when he visited his incarcerated long term partner, and sought to make clear that federal sex discrimination provisions protect LGBT people by challenging a landlord’s refusal to rent her properties to a same-sex couple, one of whom is transgender, under the Fair Housing Act. We are delighted that he has earned this important honor.”