Plaintiff In Marriage Equality Lawsuit Dies Of Cancer
ESPANOLA -- Jennifer Neuman-Roper, one of the plaintiffs in the New Mexico marriage equality lawsuit- Griego v. Oliver- which is currently pending before the state's Supreme Court, has died of advanced cancer at the age of 44. Neuman-Roper passed away on Friday, November 8 after battling Stage 4 brain cancer. She is survived by her wife Angelique Neuman-Roper and sons Jayms, David, and Damion.
Neuman-Roper and her spouse had been a couple for more than 20 years, and due to her illness, had petitioned the courts to grant an expedited judgement so they could marry before Neuman-Roper’s illness rendered her incapable.
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. The couple were married in an impromptu ceremony in Santa Fe in the lobby of the Christus St. Vincent Cancer Center, the same day that the County of Santa Fe began issuing licenses.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Jen Neuman-Roper’s passing,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson.
“She was a beloved member of her community, a loving mother and wife, and a trail blazer for marriage equality in New Mexico.
Her participation in the New Mexico freedom to marry case helped open the door for thousands of same-sex couples to celebrate their love and commitment in marriage here in our state. She will be missed.”
Upon her death, Neuman-Roper was the first person to be issued a New Mexico certificate of death that acknowledged a surviving same-sex spouse, according to a news release issued today by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.
Since the August 26 ruling by the New Mexico Second District court, eight counties in New Mexico have issued marriage licences to same sex couples. Griego v. Oliver is currently on appeal to the New Mexico State Supreme Court.
The court is expected to deliver a ruling soon.