Lieutenant Laurel Hester is dying. All she wants to do is leave her pension benefits to her life partner - Stacie, so Stacie can afford to keep their house. Laurel is told no; they are not ...
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This is a story of loss, legacy, and the power to change the future. It's about family and the memories we leave behind, a story that began 80 years ago in 1937, when eight-year-old Xia ... See full summary »
Lieutenant Laurel Hester is dying. All she wants to do is leave her pension benefits to her life partner - Stacie, so Stacie can afford to keep their house. Laurel is told no; they are not husband and wife. After spending a lifetime fighting for justice for other people, Laurel - a veteran New Jersey detective - launches a final battle for justice. Knuckle-biting, dramatic Freeheld chronicles a dying policewoman's bitter fight to provide for the love of her life.Written by
Tom Hanks, who starred in groundbreaking AIDS and gay rights themed Philadelphia (1993) turned out to be the presenter of the Oscar to 'Freeheld' producers, a film that was about modern gay rights. Additionally, and somewhat more ironically, at the time, the Academy used service members in a remote televised hookup from Afghanistan and during "don't ask, don't tell" to announce the nominees for best documentary category before Mr. Hanks said, "and the Oscar goes to... Freeheld", a film about a lesbian couple and their fight for equality. Unfortunately the featured partner in both films passes away prematurely in the course of seeking justice. See more »
A New Jersey Lesbian Couple fight for their rights!
Cancer stricken Laurel Hester was a police woman in the New Jersey shore town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey when she was stricken with lung cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, she fought for her pension to be given to her partner/longtime companion/wife Staci Andree. The documentary shows the woman's battle for life and to help her partner obtain a sum of about $13,000 which isn't much but it would be able to maintain their modest New Jersey home. Laurel's fight could be symbolic of many in the battlefield. It's not so much about lesbianism as it is about politics in the garden state that is the most corrupt in the nation. The freeholders was resistant in letting Andree obtain the money probably to pocket themselves. Laurel and Staci's fight went public because it had no other choice. Laurel's colleagues at the police department also supported her right to designate her partner as the recipient of her pension. With all the revelations about New Jersey politics, politicians such as the freeholders which are more like county alder persons are the last people to make such a decision. It was Laurel's decision and she fought hard just as she did for her life. In the end, this documentary shows a loving couple regardless of their sexual orientation who fight to obtain what is really theirs. The fact that she was fighting from her deathbed is really heartbreaking. Here, she dedicated her life to fighting crime only to be almost denied of what was hers all along. The Ocean County Freeholders should be ashamed themselves for denying a dying woman's last request. By the way, New Jersey politicians have been double-dipping (meaning that they could be collected 2 pensions under the current plan) which is another aggravating circumstance. Since I live in New Jersey, the corruption is just awful and all politicians (even the former governor known as a "Gay American" could have came forward help Laurel's cause but he is too busy and is part of the corruptive mess). He doesn't care and neither does most politicians about the people like Laurel who came to serve their community. That's the real tragedy here. It's not about morals, judgment, or what's right but about the power of the almighty dollar. Ocean County probably wanted to take what was so little and probably use it for themselves. Without Laurel's pension of only $13,000, her partner Staci would lose their home since the property taxes are about that much in our state. It's not that much money to the politicians but it is to somebody who has already lost so much.
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