Blog of Rights

James
Esseks

James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project.  He joined the Project as Litigation Director in 2001 and has been in his current position since 2010.  James oversees litigation, lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education work nationwide that aims to ensure equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by the government; equal rights and protections for LGBT couples and families; protection from discrimination in jobs, schools, housing, and public accommodations; and fair treatment by the government of people living with HIV/AIDS. Prior to joining the ACLU, he was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., in New York. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He clerked for U.S. Judge James R. Browning on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.

Virginia Should Be for All Lovers – Bringing the Freedom to Marry to Virginia

Virginia Should Be for All Lovers – Bringing the Freedom to Marry to Virginia

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:17am

Today we filed another marriage case, this time on the solidly southern soil of Virginia. The case is a joint venture among the ACLU,...

Expanding the Freedom to Marry: Here’s What’s Next

Expanding the Freedom to Marry: Here’s What’s Next

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:17am

Today, the ACLU launched three new federal marriage cases – in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia (this last as co-counsel with Lambda Legal). These cases are step two of our two-pronged, post-DOMA, post-Prop 8 plan for winning the freedom…

DOMA Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!

DOMA Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:50am

The United States Supreme Court just ruled that section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution. This decision, in the ACLU's lawsuit on behalf of Edie Windsor, marks a watershed moment in the movement for LGBT equality.…

It's Not All About Marriage

It's Not All About Marriage

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:04am

With all the attention over the past several months given to our DOMA challenge at the Supreme Court and to our state marriage campaigns from Rhode Island and Delaware to Minnesota (and we haven't given up the fight in Illinois!), you may be forgiven…

Today at the Supreme Court: Ms. Windsor Goes to Washington

Today at the Supreme Court: Ms. Windsor Goes to Washington

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 7:55am

I'm writing from DC, where "Team Edie" has spent the last few days in intense preparations for today's Supreme Court oral arguments in Edie Windsor's challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Edie's case presents a straightforward question…

How the ACLU Helped Get Us To Today's Marriage Moment

How the ACLU Helped Get Us To Today's Marriage Moment

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:06pm

As the Supreme Court takes up the challenge to California's Prop 8 today, and the ACLU's challenge to DOMA tomorrow, it's clear that we've reached a tipping point on marriage for same-sex couples. Public opinion on this issue has reached approval levels…

Marriage in New Mexico, Civil Unions in Colorado – The Wave Continues!

Marriage in New Mexico, Civil Unions in Colorado – The Wave Continues!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:36am

It seems like every time you turn around these days, someone is announcing new support for the freedom to marry, which is the result of years of groundwork that the ACLU and other organizations have laid to get us to this incredible place.

Yesterday…

Voices Against DOMA: We've Got Friends

Voices Against DOMA: We've Got Friends

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 2:38pm

We're almost there – next week, on March 27, the Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Edie Windsor's case. Essentially DOMA requires the federal government to treat legally married…

Victory! Equal Pay for Lesbian and Gay Veterans

Victory! Equal Pay for Lesbian and Gay Veterans

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 9:47am

At long last (and after two years of ACLU litigation), many lesbian and gay former members of the military will be getting what they deserve: full severance pay regardless of their sexual orientation.

If you serve six years in the military…

We're Going to The Supreme Court! The Supreme Court Takes Review of DOMA and Prop 8!

We're Going to The Supreme Court! The Supreme Court Takes Review of DOMA and Prop 8!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:00am

Today the Prop 8 case (Perry) is being argued before the Supreme Court and tomorrow the ACLU will be there challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of Edie Windsor....

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