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.

With Less Than 18 Months To Live, She Wants To Get Married

With Less Than 18 Months To Live, She Wants To Get Married

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:45pm
Our freedom to marry lawsuit in New Mexico has just gotten more urgent.
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…

Protecting Kids and Families in North Carolina

Protecting Kids and Families in North Carolina

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:18am

We’ve just filed a new federal case in North Carolina to ensure that kids being raised by lesbian or gay parents can have legally protected relationships with both of the parents who are raising them. North Carolina bans second parent…

Jen and Angelique Got Married!

Jen and Angelique Got Married!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:52am

Two amazing updates on this case. First, Jen and Angelique are married! Last Friday, the Santa Fe County Clerk issued them a marriage license and they got married in a cancer center while Jen was on a break from a chemotherapy infusion. There's just…

Championing 4,000 At-Risk Kids by Standing Up for Greg & Stillman

Championing 4,000 At-Risk Kids by Standing Up for Greg & Stillman

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:13am

Greg and Stillman Stewart have a knack for nurturing children with serious needs. The two men have been together...

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,...

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…

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....

For Queer Youth, ACLU Is Here to "Kick Some Ass"!

For Queer Youth, ACLU Is Here to "Kick Some Ass"!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:29pm

A centerpiece of the ACLU's work for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) youth is ensuring that public schools don't erase LGBT people from the school environment. Opponents of LGBT equality, or school officials who are simply uncomfortable…

Department of Defense to Service Members: Homos Get Half

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:16pm

There's been lots going on around Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) this fall, from a federal judge ordering the reinstatement of Maj. Margaret Witt, to the Obama Administration getting a stay of an order from another federal judge that would have barred…

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