Senior Attorney | Lambda Legal
New York, NY
Wednesday, October 3
Current Status of LGBT Fair Housing with Lambda Legal
A one on one interview with Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney. Gonzalez-Pagan played an active part 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 case Obergefell v. Hodges. As lead counsel, he also obtained the first court decision in the country holding that the Federal Housing Act’s sex discrimination prohibition covers discrimination against LGBT people in Smith v. Avanti.
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan is a Senior Attorney in the National Headquarters 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 individuals living with HIV. His work spans all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education efforts.
Gonzalez-Pagan played an active part 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 case Obergefell v. Hodges, Gonzalez-Pagan helped secure marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court while representing four same-sex couples seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage and accurate birth certificates for their Ohio-born children in Henry v. Hodges. He was also 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 successful challenge to Louisiana’s marriage ban.
Gonzalez-Pagan has also played an instrumental role in advancing the rights of LGBT people under federal civil rights laws in education, employment, health care, and housing. Gonzalez-Pagan was co-counsel for Lambda Legal in the landmark decisions in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College and Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., the first and second appellate rulings in the country holding that Title VII covers sexual orientation discrimination. As lead counsel, he also obtained the first court decision in the country holding that the Federal Housing Act’s sex discrimination prohibition covers discrimination against LGBT people in Smith v. Avanti. He is also lead counsel in Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District, where a court held that the equal protection guarantee protects transgender students from discrimination in schools (including bathrooms), and Conforti v. St. Joseph’s Healthcare, where he represents a transgender man denied a hysterectomy by a catholic hospital.
Recognized as an emerging leader and passionate advocate for the civil rights of LGBT people, Gonzalez-Pagan has spoken at many of America’s leading law schools, including Columbia, Cornell, Penn, and Stanford, and bar associations. He has been recognized as one of 2018’s Top Lawyers Under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association, 2016’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association, a Public Interest Leader by the Boston Bar Association, and with the Young Alumni Award by the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is regularly quoted by news outlets regarding the civil rights of LGBT people and their families, and has made numerous media appearances, including MSNBC.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Gonzalez-Pagan worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Assistant Attorney General, a Special Assistant District Attorney, and an Associate General Counsel to the Massachusetts Inspector General. As an Assistant Attorney General, Gonzalez-Pagan was part of the team that represented the Commonwealth in Massachusetts v. HHS, Massachusetts’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) before the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He also successfully obtained injunctive relief for victims of hate crimes that were targeted based on their sexual orientation and civilly prosecuted housing discrimination cases.
Gonzalez-Pagan received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. He also possesses a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Cornell University. Gonzalez-Pagan was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is fluent in Spanish.
Gonzalez-Pagan is a member of the bars of Massachusetts and New York.