A Strong Statement... For My Wife

Kate Fleming often dedicated her work to her wife. Last Thursday, however, it was Charlene Strong's turn to pay tribute to her late partner with the premiere of the documentary For My Wife in Los Angeles.

BY Rhiza Dizon

February 23 2009 12:00 AM ET

Kate Fleming often
dedicated her work, simply, "to my wife." Last
Thursday, however, it was Charlene Strong's turn to pay tribute
to her late partner with the premiere of the documentary
For My Wife

in Los Angeles.

A collaboration between
Strong and filmmakers David Rothmiller and L.D. Thompson, the
documentary follows the aftermath of an extraordinary
yet all-too-common scenario for same-sex couples: A
woman is prevented from seeing her dying partner in her
hospital room. It's a nightmare too horrible for
most couples to imagine, but it happened to Strong on
December 14, 2006.

On that evening, a
torrential rainstorm flooded the Seattle basement of Fleming
and Strong's home. Fleming, an award-winning audiobook
narrator, tried to retrieve equipment from the basement studio
but became trapped by the rising waters. When a rescue team
finally freed Fleming, she was unconscious and rushed to the
hospital. Without legal standing as her spouse, Strong was
denied access to Fleming by a social worker. Fleming's sister
had to be called to give Strong the necessary permission to be
with her wife in her final moments. To add insult to injury,
the funeral director refused to recognize Strong as Fleming's
partner, and instead directed all arrangement questions to
Fleming's mother.

"This was the second
time I was being told I was no one," Strong said.

Tags: film

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