Tag Archive: Laurel Hester

Deciminyan forgot one ‘Face of Equality” – Juan Melli

Juan MelliThis afternoon, deciminyan posted a photo montage of some of the people who particularly savor the victory of New Jersey’s first day of marriage equality. It was nice to be included among the legislative champions, and the legal warriors. And Steven Goldstein who poured in years of his life. And my friends Marsha and Louise, plaintiffs and newlyweds as of midnight (I’ll post wedding pictures later, I’m still recovering from the party).

But there’s somebody deciminyan left out, somebody he’s never met, Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli, who started this blog 8 years, and 24050 diaries, ago.

Something amazing: The first post Juan, or any of us, wrote about marriage equality was 8 years ago today – Oct. 21, 2005. Diary #119. Here it is:

Same-sex marriage suit filed with NJ Supreme Court
. It was Juan whose Blue Jersey coverage helped the press take notice of Laurel Hester, the police officer dying of cancer whose fight to see her partner receive her benefits helped give birth to this movement. And it was Juan, with our friend Jack Bohrer, who got Blue Jersey’s Think Equal ads made.

Much of what I understand about marriage came from Juan; one of many lessons in life I learned from somebody much younger than I am. Juan “got it” as a newlywed himself in his mid-20s (he and Stephanie have two boys now).

But it was Laurel Hester, who I never met, whose struggle was the gut punch that gave rise to so much that came after and so many of those ‘faces of equality’. Just a snapshot isn’t enough; below the fold, the trailer for the award-winning documentary about Laurel and Stacee: Freeheld.

The Night the Oscar went to South Jersey


So it’s Oscar night tonight.

Hollywood will be properly and predictably tweezed, tucked, plucked, corseted and bauble’d. It’s almost like election day for pretty people. And the eyes of the world will be watching.

I haven’t watched the Oscars in a few years, at least since 2008 when Freeheld, the Laurel Hester Story was nominated.

The night before the 2008 show, Freeheld’s director Cynthia Wade was the guest on BlueJersey BlogTalkRadio.

Needless to say, when Freeheld won the top prize, the BlueJersey community was sent into a collective delirium, a feeling that’d last for much of 2008 as the progressive community piled up victories in Trenton, Washington and (at least once) in Hollywood.

Heady times, indeed. And on this date, it’s worth remembering, A)because Laurel Hester deserves to be remembered and B) it’s okay to contemplate battles past. Even the ones we won.

The acceptance speech is after the flip, but check out the Movie trailer, below. And let’s make this an Oscar-themed openthread, shall we?

10 memorable Jersey political moments, 2008 + POLL!

Re-promoted for a Merry Christmas. If you’re reading today, maybe you have 10 minutes to reflect on the year in NJ politics. Enjoy and don’t forget to take the poll! -JG

What better way to celebrate a memorable year than with a top 10 list?  As a blogger, activist and campaign worker, this was my perspective as seen (entirely) thorugh the lens of my wecam or iPhone.

Hopefully something for everyone.  Take the poll and share what would make your top ten list!

Freeheld debut on TV

Freeheld, the Oscar-winning documentary film about Laurel Hester, will make it’s tv debut on Wednesday, June 4 at 7:30pm on Cinemax.

Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, protecting the rights of victims and putting her life on the line. She had no reason to expect that in the last year of her life – after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer – her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved.

And the Winner Is….



It’s official!  Freehold, the Laurel Hester Story is now an Academy Award winner.  Looks like story of a New Jersey civil rights hero just took on epic proportions.  I am so excited I can’t even type!!

Please share your reactions, too!

Check out the announcement and the victory speech.  It’s really thrilling.

Reflections on Laurel Hester

FH_ss1Our Laurel

Two years ago tomorrow, Ocean County Lt. Laurel Hester succumbed to a long illness. Her simultaneous battle against cancer and bigotry inspired us all, in New Jersey and beyond.  It also assured that her partner Stacee would receive Laurel’s pension benefits.

Two years on it’s safe to say that Laurel Hester’s story will endure.  Too many people have Laurel’s legacy snug and safe in their hearts.  I know I do.  (And there’s always that Oscar nominated documentary about Laurel for when we are old and grey and the memory fades a bit.)

Please join me in taking a moment of reflection to recall the woman who continues to serve as a beacon for equality.  And if you’re so inclined, spare some of those thoughts with the rest of us.

Golden Statuettes

(Promoted by Jay)–

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since Laurel Hester lost her battle with lung cancer and won her battle for equality.  But thanks to Cynthia Wade’s cinematic handiwork, Laurel’s story is properly celebrated and archived in the Oscar-nominated documentary Freeheld.

Upon learning of the nod from The Academy, Ms. Wade had some pretty profound words to share, captured here via that good ol’ You Tube magic.  It good for some Saturday morning introspection, but nothing  too heavy.


On a much lighter note: the Oscars are officially ON and Garden State Equality is having an Oscar-watch party that same night, February 24th at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.  A free screening of Freeheld is at 7pm followed by the matchless Academy Award show.  

See you there!