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In Sickness and In Health
A film by Pilar Prassas, Edited by Peter Heacock
2007, 56 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W09952
A deeply affecting film by newcomer Pilar Prassas and edited by Peter Heacock, In Sickness and In Health cuts through abstract ideologies, politics, and legalities to the human heart of the same-sex marriage debate in this amazing story of love, hope, and courage.

In 2002, filmmaker Pilar Prassas began following seven couples in their effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey. Two years into filming, however, plaintiff Marilyn Maneely, mother of five, was diagnosed with the incurable, terminal disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. On the day Marilyn passed away, her life partner of 14 years, Diane Marini, was not even allowed to sign her death certificate.

In traditional marriage vows, “‘til death do us part” is the phrase that follows “in sickness and in health,” but to many gay and lesbian Americans, saying these words and enjoying their subsequent rights is not an option. With a tender touch, Prassas delicately balances tragedy and triumph in this film about the civil rights issue of our time—the fight to marry, and care for, the ones we love, in sickness and in health.


Reel Affirmations - DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Best Documentary
Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Jury Award for Best Documentary & Festival Favorite
Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Audience Award Best Documentary

  • Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, TX
  • Reel Identities LGBT FF, New Orleans
  • Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
  • International Black Women's Film Festival
  • New Fest: The New York LGBT Film Festival
  • Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
  • Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Boston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Santa Fe Film Festival
  • Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival
  • The Berkshire Women for Women Worldwide
  • SF Women's Film Festival
  • Scribe Video Center, PA

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    “A moving narrative that engages the viewer on a deeper level of understanding of what the fight is all about.”
    Deborah Edel
    Founder, Lesbian Herstory Archives

    “May the State declare who can be your soul mate in life—and in death? Puts human faces on the abstract academic debate about the social taxonomy of relationships. Its length, its sensitivity, and its clarity make it perfect for students learning about social and legal issues.”
    Jillian T. Weiss, J.D., Ph.D.
    Assoc. Professor & Convener of Law & Society Major, Ramapo College

    “ *** ½. Highly recommended…. This moving film puts a human face on an important issue.”
    Video Librarian

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    In Sickness and In Health is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us