Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dying Cop/Cancer Victim Forbidden to Leave Pension to Partner

Found this extremely troubling story from Asbury Park Press over at Pam's House Blend. Read it and know this happens all the time. In fact, if you are gay and partnered you ought to look into your future situation. Pam's link has pictures of the soon to be icons of hatefulness.

TOMS RIVER — Steven Goldstein, reacting angrily to Ocean County's refusal to allow a dying police lieutenant to leave her pension benefits to her domestic partner, said gay activist groups will spend whatever it takes to unseat the freeholders.

"We are going to pour in a ton of money," said Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay and lesbian rights activist organization. "These people really don't know. We are not done when Laurel Hester dies."

Hester, 49, retired as a county police lieutenant Jan 1. She is in a hospice near death from inoperable lung cancer and was unable to attend the meeting Wednesday. But Goldstein played a videotape of her final plea.

She wants to leave her pension benefits to her domestic partner, with whom she shares a home in Point Pleasant. Regular county employees have that option, but members of the police and firemen's pension system need county approval to do so. Several counties, including Monmouth, have given employees that option. All state employees have that option.

Married employees have no restrictions on leaving pensions to spouses.

"Gay activists from all over the country said "how much money do you you need to get rid of these guys?' " Goldstein said. "The day of the free ride is over. We are going to play hardball in the political arena like they played hardball against Laurel Hester."

The meeting room was packed by Hester's supporters. About a dozen spoke, and some carried signs. But the freeholders remained steadfast, sticking to the position they have taken for the past three months...

..."These are good people," she (Hester) said of her many supporters. "They are not going to give in. We don't always win, but we don't give up."

"Poster child" epithet

Joan Hervey of Plainfield, vice chairwoman of Garden State Equality, said having to go to each municipality is "dehumanizing. . . . We have to go door to door . . . asking, "Please, can we have some more?' " she said.

"Ocean County is (the) poster child for the homophobia in New Jersey," Hervey said. "As a board I hope you are not proud of that."

"She put her life on the line every day for each of you," said George Farrugia, president of the Gay Officers Action League of New York and New Jersey. "You are being called to task for Ocean County to not sit behind numbers."

Liz Arnone of Brick called the board's action a social injustice that tells gays and lesbians that "We are less than human."


Post a Comment

<< Home