Brian Ellner is a native New Yorker who grew up in Stuyvesant Town and attended New York City's public schools.
Brian was the senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign's successful effort to win marriage equality in New York. In that role he launched New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, a communications campaign featuring iconic New Yorkers -- from Julianne Moore and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Barbara Bush, Sean Avery and Russell Simmons -- expressing support for equal marriage rights. After the New York win, Brian created HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality campaign and also provided strategic counsel on the successful legislative marriage efforts in Maryland and Washington. Brian also co-founded TheFour.com to support the 2012 marriage equality referenda fights in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
Prior to joining HRC, Ellner was a senior aide in the administration of Mayor Bloomberg, working with the New York City Department of Education to transform public education. He also worked on renewing mayoral accountability for the school system. Brian worked with then Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein to build the Education Equality Project, a national non-profit effort focused on eliminating the racial and ethnic achievement gap.
Brian is an attorney and practiced with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Brian's pro bono work included representation of Freedom to Marry and the New York City LGBT Community Center. He also co-authored an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas. Brian clerked for the New Jersey Supreme Court and worked on the landmark school financing case, Abbott v. Burke.
Brian served as member of Community Board 5 in Manhattan and as President of a Manhattan School Board. In 2005 he ran for Manhattan Borough President.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Hetrick-Martin Institute and currently serves on the Board of Athlete Ally.
Brian is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.