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 Minister and a Rabbi Walk Into a Vegas Wedding Chapel...

A Minister and a Rabbi Walk Into a Vegas Wedding Chapel...

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 2:40pm
There are currently 32 states and counting that have marriage equality. This is up from 12 states before we helped Edie Windsor strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court last June.
Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in 30 States – With More to Come

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in 30 States – With More to Come

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 1:24pm

This morning the Supreme Court denied certiorari in all five freedom to marry cases pending before it.  The ACLU was co-counsel in three of the five cases.  

The Supreme Court had previously granted a stay of the decisions by…

It's Not the 80s Anymore: Transition-Related Care is Basic Healthcare

It's Not the 80s Anymore: Transition-Related Care is Basic Healthcare

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:51pm

The big LGBT-news that the mainstream media is buzzing about this week is that transgender actress Laverne Cox became the first transgender person to grace the cover of TIME magazine.

Her recognition and the accompanying cover story, "The Transgender…

44% of the US population lives in a freedom-to-marry state.

The Freedom to Marry Breaking Out All Over!

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

Marriage in Oregon and Pennsylvania. Respect for existing marriages in Utah. Plus a new marriage lawsuit in Montana. From coast to coast, and several places in between, the ACLU has been propelling the marriage movement forward. Here's a round-up of…

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…

Nebraska's Ban on Gay Foster Parents is Beatable

Nebraska's Ban on Gay Foster Parents is Beatable

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:17pm

The Cornhusker State's discriminatory ban on gay foster parents looks increasingly rickety.

A Nebraska state trial court ruled today that our challenge to the state's ban on foster parenting or adoption by gay people can proceed. The ruling…

The End Game Is Here for Marriage Equality

The End Game Is Here for Marriage Equality

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 4:33pm

This is it – the end game in the longstanding campaign to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide is upon us. The U.S. Supreme Court has just announced it will hear freedom-to-marry cases in all four states in the Sixth Circuit-…

Gay People Raising Kids: From Our Downfall To Our Salvation

Gay People Raising Kids: From Our Downfall To Our Salvation

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:21am

It used to be that the idea of gay people raising kids spooked lots of people, who thought of us only as pedophiles, not as parents. In fact, we lost a long series of court cases about the freedom to marry based on judges saying that straight folks…

As Wedding Bells Ring Out in Florida, Is Marriage Equality Coming to the Supreme Court?

As Wedding Bells Ring Out in Florida, Is Marriage Equality Coming to the Supreme Court?

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:58pm

Wedding bells have begun ringing out across the Sunshine State.

County clerks all across Florida yesterday started accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples, thanks to an ACLU case. That makes Florida the 36th freedom-to-marry…

This is What the Fight for Marriage Equality Looks Like

This is What the Fight for Marriage Equality Looks Like

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 3:39pm

A lot of people think that the fight for the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples is all about legal filings, demonstrations and news coverage. I'm here to tell you that it's not: it's about real people, real lives and sometimes, real tragedy.…

Statistics image