"It was Lieutenant Laurel Hester's dying wish that her fight for, against discrimination would make a difference for all the same sex couples across the country that face discrimination every day. Discrimination that I don't face as a married woman."
In an emotional tribute, Wade, who had moved into the guestroom of the couple's home during Hester's last few months to film the documentary, also thanked her husband for taking care of their two young daughters while holding down a full-time job while she worked on the film.
The 38-minute documentary chronicled the struggle of New Jersey Detective Lt. Laurel Hester who spent the last six months of her life fighting local officials to transfer her pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree so that that she can afford to keep their house, after being diagnosed with cancer.
Under guidelines by the Media Development Authority (MDA), depictions of homosexuality are not disallowed as "long as the presentation does not justify, promote or glamorise such a lifestyle.
Far from justifying, promoting or glamorising homosexuality, Wade was in fact advocating equality and non-discrimination. When asked to confirm the edit and explain its reasons for omitting that segment of Wade's speech, MediaCorp - which runs Channel 5 - did not respond by press time.
Explaining a unique alliance that formed between "macho cops that normally would not be considered gay allies" and gay activists who lobbied alongside Hester, Wade said in an interview with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that because they [the cops] "saw one of their favourite police partners face discrimination, they realised it was wrong and said, 'No, we're going to stand up as a community and say this is wrong. It's about equality.'"
Although in 2004 New Jersey allowed municipalities to extend domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian couples who work in local government, Ocean County - where couple lived - did not allow for that. Had Hester, who worked as a detective on the force for over 20 years, been in a heterosexual relationship, the pension would have been automatically afforded to her married partner.
The five Ocean County freeholders ultimately voted to extend benefits to same-sex couples just weeks before Hester died in February 2006 at 49.
New Jersey has been in the forefront on key gay rights issues in recent years. It became among the first to offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples in 2004. In December 2006, New Jersey became the third state to offer civil unions offering same-sex couples all the benefits of marriage except the title. Couples have been allowed to enter into the unions since Feb 22, 2007. To date, only the state of Massachusetts allows gay marriage.
Cynthia Wade's and Vanessa Roth's acceptance speeches