"To Kill a Mockingbird" in New Jersey

A dying lesbian cop still can't leave her pension benefits to her partner.

Published December 23, 2005 5:13PM (EST)

Remember Laurel Hester, the lesbian cop in New Jersey who is dying of lung cancer, and only has about six months to live? As Broadsheet noted earlier this week, the five Scrooges on the Ocean County Board of Freeholders are denying Hester's pension to her partner, Stacie Andree. So Andree will soon lose her partner and the couple's house.

Big Gay Picture has posted Parts 2 and 3 of a three-part interview with Hester, who has mostly shunned the press during her ordeal. (You can read Part 1 here.) After one freeholder cited the sanctity of marriage as a reason for withholding the benefits, Hester told the site that she felt "digusted, incredulous, as if we're back in the 1970's with that sort of mentality. I can't believe I let myself become naive enough to believe that most people don't care about [sexual orientation] anymore." Noting how judgmental the freeholders were, she asked: "How can they call themselves Christian?"

Hester's favorite book is "To Kill a Mockingbird," and she even named her dog, Boo, after Boo Radley. "Have the Ocean County freeholders ever read 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? I wonder," writes Michael Jensen of Big Gay Picture. He asks that Hester's supporters send copies of the book to the freeholders at the address listed here. "The freeholders next meet on Jan. 7. Wouldn't it be something if, after Christmas, they were to return to their desks to find dozens of copies 'To Kill a Mockingbird' waiting for them? If they read one, they might even learn a thing or two about doing the right thing."

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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