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.

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...

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…

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…

A Marriage Moment (and Another One to Come)

A Marriage Moment (and Another One to Come)

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:56am

The nation has just had a marriage moment – a tipping point where voters in at least two states have affirmed the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.  The vote illustrates that the country is getting squarely behind the notion that same-sex…

DOMA headed to the Supreme Court?

DOMA headed to the Supreme Court?

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 2:49pm

Today, we asked the United States Supreme Court to review the ACLU’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of Edie Windsor.  A federal trial court struck down DOMA last month in Edie's case, holding that it violates the federal…

Love Is in the Air: Update on Efforts to Expand the Freedom to Marry

Love Is in the Air: Update on Efforts to Expand the Freedom to Marry

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:09pm

A quick guide to what's happening with efforts to expand marriage for same-sex couples on the ground now and what’s in store for us during the rest of 2012.

Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Law Prohibiting Medical Treatment for Transgender Prisoners

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:31pm

Last Friday, we got a fabulous ruling from a federal appeals court striking down a Wisconsin law that prohibited prison doctors from prescribing medically necessary treatments for transgender prisoners. It’s a great step forward in the…

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…

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