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.

A One-Two Punch to DOMA

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:20pm
You’ve probably heard by now about yesterday’s fabulous pair of decisions striking down a portion of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I wanted to explain a bit about what the decisions mean and put them in context.

George Rekers: An Ex-Expert Witness

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:29am

By now, many of you have probably seen news reports, and even late-night comedy routines, about Dr. George Rekers, the anti-gay activist who allegedly hired a young man through Rentboy.com to "carry his luggage" on a European vacation. What…

And Pennsylvania Makes Nineteen!

And Pennsylvania Makes Nineteen!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:14pm

Yesterday a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled for the freedom to marry, and today the state's governor, Tom Corbett, announced that he won't appeal the judge's ruling.

That means that Pennsylvania now becomes the 19th state in the nation…

The Next Marriage Moment Starts in New Jersey – But We're Not Done Yet!

The Next Marriage Moment Starts in New Jersey – But We're Not Done Yet!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:16pm

Today same-sex couples start marrying in New Jersey, thanks to Lambda Legal's fabulous court victory. We're thrilled to see New Jersey...

Marriage Momentum Continues!

Marriage Momentum Continues!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:52pm

What a day! Today two courts moved us closer to the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in New Jersey and Illinois.

In the ACLU and Lambda Legal's lawsuits seeking marriage in Illinois, a state trial court ruled that the case shouldn't be…
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…

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.

Just Plain Mean

Just Plain Mean

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 5:06pm

Today we challenged a new Michigan law that bars cities and counties from providing health insurance to the domestic partners of their employees.

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