Lesbian Documentary Grabs Oscar

Ellen DeGeneres didn’t host last night’s Oscars, but the lesbians still got their time to shine when Freeheld won the award for best Documentary short. Straight filmmaking duo Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth’s 36-minute movie tells the story of New Jersey police officer’s Laurel Hester’s fight to transfer her pensions to her lesbian love, Stacie Andree.

The video’s courtesy Blue Jersey’s high-tech team. Notice that American soldiers – who can’t be openly gay – ended up “presenting” the award for a gay couple’s civil struggle, huh?

Wade and Roth’s win definitely pleased Garden State Equality leader Steve Goldstein, who used the occasion to reinvigorate his group’s fight:

If only New Jersey could claim – because it would be a heroic coda to a heroic woman’s life – that when Laurel Hester died, the state enacted a law granting equality to same-sex couples. But that’s not the case. This week, a government commission detailed the failure of the civil union law to provide anything close to the equality that marriage would.

Because of the failure of the civil union law, there are new Laurel Hesters all across New Jersey: Same-sex couples denied equal benefits by employers, struggling to make ends meet, struggling to maintain their dignity, in the face of a civil union law that segregates, discriminates and humiliates.

Let us redouble our efforts to win marriage equality in New Jersey to achieve Laurel Hester’s dream of equality for all.

Goldstein’s thoughts were echoed at a party-cum-rally in West Orange, New Jersey, where over 300 people gathered to watch Freeheld last night. One attendee told Nate Schweber wrote about the event in today’s NY Times and quoted a police officer named Doug Laverty: “I’m here to watch the film because of what it could do for us.” And we thought movies were just entertainment!

Here’s the trailer for Freeheld:

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