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Views & Analysis

November 12, 2013

New Mexico Woman Who Won the Freedom to Marry Her Spouse Loses Battle to Cancer

JenandAngelique

Jen (L) and Angelique in August 2013.

After a long battle with a rare form of brain cancer, Jennifer Neuman-Roper, a client of NCLR and bold advocate for marriage equality, passed away on November 8.

Jen and Angelique Neuman-Roper joined Griego v. Oliver—a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of New Mexico and the National Center for Lesbian Rights—in August, and played a pivotal role in the struggle to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in New Mexico.

Because Jen suffered from Stage 4 brain cancer, the couple of more than 20 years asked the court to expedite the freedom to marry case so they could marry before Jen’s illness worsened. On August 26, the New Mexico Second District court ruled that Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties must immediately begin allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Jen and Angelique were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in New Mexico. Since then, six additional New Mexico counties have extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, and more than 1,500 same-sex couples have already married in the state. On October 23, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case brought by the 33 county clerks in the state, seeking clarity on the state’s marriage laws.

Jen’s death is a loss to the entire LGBT community. She was a beloved member of our community, and we wish our deepest condolences to her wife, Angelique, and their children, as well as their friends and other family members, and all who were touched by her courage and advocacy.

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