Rob Ornstein and James Esseks in Hudson River Park on their wedding day. | DONNA ACETO
Rob Ornstein and James Esseks met 21 years ago when both were volunteering at AIDS Walk New York. They made honest men of each other on September 7 when Judge Denny Chin, who sits on the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, presided over their wedding at City Winery in Soho.
Ornstein is an interior designer and Esseks heads the LGBT and AIDS Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Humble by nature –– if you didn't ask, he wouldn't even tell you what he does for a living –– Esseks is fortunate to have a new husband plenty ready to talk about his contributions to the community.
One of Esseks’ most recent standout achievements was serving as co-counsel with Paul Weiss’ Roberta Kaplan in Edie Windsor’s victory over the federal Defense of Marriage Act at the US Supreme Court. Windsor, who will likely be remembered by many for having shattered tradition, was a pillar of tradition at the Ornstein-Esseks nuptials –– namely that you cry at weddings!
Esseks, in his turn, had lovely words for Ornstein, whose support he spoke about at length.
The beautiful late summer weather provided a wonderful backdrop for pictures at Hudson River Park, and the newlyweds next embarked for a honeymoon in Greece.
Everyone said it was the best wedding ceremony they had ever attended.