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.

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 no way to overstate the importance of that moment to them, they were overwhelmed.
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…

Another DOMA Win!

Another DOMA Win!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 7:44pm

When it rains, it pours! Late this afternoon, another federal judge ruled that the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the federal constitution. The ruling came in an ACLU case brought by Edie Windsor after the death…

Maryland: Breakthrough Moment on the Freedom to Marry!

Maryland: Breakthrough Moment on the Freedom to Marry!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:37pm

With yesterday’s passage of a Maryland bill opening the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, there’s no denying it anymore – we’re at a breakthrough moment in the struggle for fair marriage laws. 

The Maryland…

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.

Clinging to the Side of a Pool, Fighting for Equality

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 5:18pm

The country and the ACLU lost a champion of civil rights earlier this month, when Robert L. Carter, federal judge and former general counsel of the NAACP, died at 94. Judge Carter’s astounding contributions to reforming American law about…

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.

Wear That Dress or Else!

Wear That Dress or Else!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:59pm

That’s basically what a high school principal told Ceara Sturgis at the start of her senior year — you’ve got to wear a “drape,” or scoop-necked covering that looks like the top of a dress, in the yearbook photo. …

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…

Defeating DOMA and Moving Forward

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 5:14pm

There's lots to celebrate about the Justice Department's statement that it will no longer defend the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) in court. That statement makes a few things clear:

The Obama administration agrees…
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