Story of NJ equal rights activist nominated for Oscar

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

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