The Columbus, Ohio City Council approved extending health benefits to the gay and unmarried partners of city employees. About 70 partners and 19 of their children will join the city’s health plan. Columbus employs nearly 8,000. This legislation allows health coverage for “an adult with whom the covered employee shares a permanent residence” and who can prove through bank statements, mortgage documents or other means that they are “financially interdependent with the employee.” Councilwoman Charleta B. Tavares, appointed in 1999, voted to approve the benefits. “We will finally have health care for all of our employees that is fair and equitable,” she said.
The story of a lesbian couple struggling with local officials for domestic partnership is being made into a feature film. Cynthia Wade, the director of the award-winning short documentary “Freeheld”, is making a full-length feature of the doc with “Juno” star, Ellen Page. Freeheld won the Oscar for best short documentary in 2008.
The Hollywood Reporter says Ron Nyswaner, an Oscar nominee for “Philadelphia,” is writing the screenplay based on the true story of the women.
Laurel Hester was a New Jersey police detective lieutenant with 25 years of service behind her. In October 2004, doctors diagnosed Lt. Hester with terminal lung cancer. Hester’s fight for her life soon became an internationally witnessed battle as she tried to pass her pension to her domestic partner – Stacie Andree. Without Hester’s pension, Andree, an auto mechanic, would not be able to afford to keep their home. Had they been a heterosexual married couple, there would have been no issue in passing on the pension.
With less than six months to live, Hester refused to back down when her elected officials – the Ocean County Freeholders – denied her request to leave her pension to Andree.