Blue Jersey was born on Wednesday, Sep 28, 2005 at 8:39pm, when its founder Juan Melli created his account at the blog he built on a new platform called soapblox.
But Blue Jersey became what it is when we joined the fight for marriage equality in New Jersey, becoming a kind of unofficial communications arm of Garden State Equality. And what knitted so many of us together was the fight for her rights of a dying Ocean County police officer named Laurel Hester who wanted the benefits she earned go to her partner, Stacie. First she fought alone, then her best friend – a male officer who hadn’t known she was gay – fought with her. That lady had guts. Then Garden State Equality showed up for her, again and again. As Laurel’s lung cancer made it harder to breathe, GSE and its Steven Goldstein became a voice for her.
Before she died, Laurel Hester’s determination gave life to a movement in a state that now recognizes the rights of its Laurels and Stacies to marry, so they get treated the way they deserve to be. Laurel was GSE’s test of fire, and it was our privilege to help where we could and help GSE tell her story. An Academy Award-winning short documentary, Freeheld was made and premiered in New Jersey, with and for GSE.
And now Laurel’s story – and Garden State Equality’s – will be a feature film. Here is the cast, according to Hollywood Reporter:
Laurel Hester: Julianne Moore
Stacie Andree: Ellen Page
Steven Goldstein: Zach Galifianakis
Peter Sollett will direct, from a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner, who wrote Philadelphia.
I’m thinking of so many people I’m proud of right now. I can’t wait to see this.