Ocean County woman could pave the way for more same sex benefits

Posted: Updated:

The case of a Ocean County woman stricken with lung cancer is expected to lead to a landmark decision in the gay rights movement.

Laurel Hester is a lung cancer patient who spent 24 years working in the Ocean County Prosecutor?s Office. Doctors have given Hester six months to live, but under current law she would not be able to pass her pension on to longtime partner Stacie Andree. State employees are currently entitled to leave death benefits to domestic partners, but police and fire personnel are not.

In light of the case, the county is expected to pass legislation that would allow Andree to receive Hester?s benefits. This follows protests from gay rights activists after the freeholders informed the pair that only married couples had that right. The Ocean County Freeholders are expected to make the vote official on Wednesday.

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