Dying Ocean County woman makes final plea for same-sex benefits
(01/19/06) TOMS RIVER ? A former Ocean County sheriff?s officer dying of cancer made one last plea for the extension of pension benefits to her domestic partner.
Laurel Hester?s latest message to freeholders is different from her usual appearances. Due to the progression of her illness, Hester will deliver her latest message via videotape rather than in person. Hester, who has lung cancer and brain tumors, says she may only have another six months to live.
Despite her pleas, county freeholders have repeatedly turned down Hester?s requests. Freeholders say they can?t make changes to Hester?s union contract. However, gay rights advocates claim members of the board are simply homophobic.
Related story: Ocean County denies pension benefits for dying woman's partner