"She's done a lot of good."
February 20, 2006 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Laurel Hester, RIP --because she and her partner fought, New Jersey police and fire department employees can now name anyone--not just a spouse--as a beneficiary for pension rights, helping to protect those they love after they're gone. Just one person who made a difference.
posted by amberglow (15 comments total)
Well, the article says she was granted the right by the board - and this is done on a case by case basis. It's not a rules change, according to the story but it's still good to know that her fight was a good one and worth all the effort. Perhaps if stories like this got more press, these board members would move to create some permanent legislation so people like Laurel don't have to spend the final years of their life, fighting tooth and nail for what they should obviously get. Nice story.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:23 AM on February 20, 2006

i don't think so, j.p.: ...negotiations led to a statewide change in the rules, allowing police and fire department employees to name anyone, not just a spouse, as a beneficiary. ... If it's a statewide change in rules, it applies to all police and fire employees in the state, no?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 AM on February 20, 2006

actually, you're right: ....Whether Wednesday's vote will apply only to Hester or will be extended to all same-sex partners of county workers is not yet known.
Freeholder James F. Lacey said Saturday that he still feels the benefits issue is one for the legislature. "I don't want to pay to clean up for the state," he said.
But he agreed that Hester's situation cannot wait for state lawmakers to act..
Following Hester's desperate plea this week in Ocean County two other New Jersey municipalities have changed their laws.
Camden County and Passaic passed ordinances offering health and pension benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. (story) Five other communities in the state also provide domestic partner benefits. ...

posted by amberglow at 6:45 AM on February 20, 2006

Or you could just let queerfolk marry and then they wouldn't have to fight stupid battles like these, and they'd automatically be extended the rigths and priviledges that come with officially recgonized spouses.
posted by raedyn at 7:13 AM on February 20, 2006

I'll be quite pleased when our society matures to the point where Laurel's fight and those like it become unnessecary, and something as simple and just as her cause cease to become news.
posted by scottymac at 7:27 AM on February 20, 2006

there's a case before NJ's Supreme Court now, raedyn, but it's not at all clear how they'll vote--they asked good questions tho.
posted by amberglow at 7:30 AM on February 20, 2006

From what I hear, they picked the NJ case quite carefully, so there is a good chance it will go through. . . Now, if some of that could spread southward . .. well, we'd be happy to help with what one of my friends ironically terms "the homosexualization of America." Good on Ocean County, Camden County, and hopefully the whole state of New Jersey.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:45 AM on February 20, 2006

posted by bardic at 9:42 AM on February 20, 2006

posted by kyrademon at 11:18 AM on February 20, 2006

posted by daninnj at 11:28 AM on February 20, 2006

Rest in peace, Lt. Hester. Your courage is an inspiration to many.
posted by dejah420 at 11:54 AM on February 20, 2006

posted by moonbird at 12:44 PM on February 20, 2006

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:59 PM on February 20, 2006

posted by annieb at 5:56 PM on February 23, 2006

Laurel Hester Memorial Service Announced, As Well As Scholarship Fund Established In Laurel's Name--...The scholarship will be for the benefit of "young adults who have shown leadership in the LGBTI community." It will be administered by the New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition, an organization that includes about 25 groups as members. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:11 PM on February 23, 2006

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