Meet the Bloggers

James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project.  He joined the Project as Litigation Director in 2001 and has been in his current position since 2010.  James oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that aims to ensure equal treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV.  James was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide.  

Previously, he represented Edie Windsor in the United States v. Windsor DOMA challenge; was counsel in Schroer v. Billington, where a federal court ruled that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination covers transgender people; and was counsel in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri.  He has also worked extensively to ensure that claims of religious liberty are not used as an excuse to harm others, including LGBT people.

Recent Posts

Jan 26, 2016

On January 14, 2016 a New York appeals court ruled that an upstate farm that rents out its premises for weddings illegally discriminated against a same-sex couple when it refused to host their wedding ceremony.  

The court rejected the farm’s claim that the owners’ religious beliefs exempted them from New York’s long-standing equality law. 

Jun 16, 2015

As the country awaits a decision from the Supreme Court on marriage equality, anti-LGBT forces who want to use religion to allow discrimination have pushed bills through in Michigan and North Carolina. Both North Carolina’s marriage refusal bill SB 2 and Michigan’s adoption refusal House Bills 4188, 4189 and 4190 have gotten final approval and are about to be law.

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