1/21/2006

A Prayer Answered

Ever since Laurel Hester learned she was dying of inoperable brain cancer, she's been pleading with Ocean City freeholders to pass her pension benefits to her partner. Over and over and over again, these people have looked into the eyes of a dying woman and told her "No."

But not now, not in her last attempt. Finally, Laurel can die in peace knowing her partner, Stacey, is taken care of.

Officials Reverse Position, Lesbian Cop To Get Dying Wish

Ocean County freeholders will grant Laurel Hester her dying wish, to have her death benefit given to her same-sex partner.

Despite state law allowing local governments to grant health and other benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees Ocean County has steadfastly refused to do so.

For months Sgt. Hester, who has inoperable brain cancer, has pleaded with freeholders to pass an ordinance recognizing same-sex partners for the purpose of benefits.

Earlier this week, with only a few months to live, she made a final plea from her hospital room.

Appearing weak, and breathing with the help of a machine, she said on a video tape that she feared partner Stacie Andree would lose the home they shared after Hester dies.

With little doctors can do for, except make her as comfortable as possible, Hester has been a released from hospital and is now at home.

Until she became too ill to work Hester was a lieutenant with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. She had worked there for 23 years - more than half her life - and is a member of the New Jersey Police and Firemen's Retirement System.

Although the state's five other pension systems allow its members to pass pension benefits to domestic partners the NJPFRS does not. Under the state's domestic partner law local governments can transfer pension benefits.

The death benefit amounts to about $13,000.

3 Comments:

At 09:09, Blogger jenny said...

i'm glad to see a little good news at least.

 
At 11:42, Blogger ariadne said...

Wow--I did NOT see that coming. Good news indeed!

 
At 10:21, Blogger jenny said...

did you get my email? just want to apologize again for the drama...

 

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