Story of NJ equal rights activist nominated for Oscar

Posted: Updated:

A Brooklyn filmmaker has been tapped as the likely winner of an Academy Award for a documentary about a New Jersey police lieutenant who fought to have death benefits paid to her same-sex partner.

Cynthia Wade is an Oscar nominee for her film "Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story." The documentary tells the story of Lt. Laurel Hester, a lung cancer victim who died two years ago while battling with Ocean County freeholders over rights for homosexual domestic partners. A vote was unanimously passed to extend spousal pension benefits to gay partners weeks before Hester's death.

Entertainment Weekly has predicted Wade will win the coveted award. The filmmaker says the win would belong to someone else, though.

"The best we can do is bring her with us in our hearts and remember her," says Wade. "This is her legacy. Whatever happens is really because of her. This is her film."

The filmmaker says she doesn't consider her film to be political or controversial, but rather the story of one woman fighting inequality.

For the interview with the filmmaker behind "Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story," go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

Related information: Official Site for Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story Gay rights activist, Ocean County Lt. mourned Ocean County woman could pave the way for more same sex benefits Dying Ocean County woman makes final plea for same-sex benefits Monmouth County freeholders approve domestic partner benefits

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."