New Mexico Marriage Plaintiff Dies at 44

Jennifer Neuman-Roper, one of the plaintiffs in the case to establish marriage equality in New Mexico, has died.

BY Michelle Garcia

November 12 2013 3:44 PM ET

Jen and Angelique Neuman-Roper with their children.

A woman who sued the state of New Mexico with her partner for the rights of same-sex couples to marry has died of cancer at age  44.

Jennifer Neuman-Roper married Angelique Neuman-Roper in an impromptu ceremony in August at the cancer center in Santa Fe where she was receiving treatment, according to the Albuquerque Journal. It was the same day a judge ordered the Santa Fe County clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a decision spurred largely by the couple's request to expedite the lawsuit due to Jennifer's failing health.

The couple, who were together for more than 20 years, had a more formal ceremony in October. Together, they had three sons, Jayms, David, and Damion.

Jennifer Neuman-Roper suffered frp, stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. She will be among the first in the state to be issued a death certificate that includes a same-sex spouse.

American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico executive director Peter Simonson said Neuman-Roper 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."

Neuman-Roper worked as technology director for the Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys and Girls Club, according to her obituary. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Jen Roper Memorial Fund, which will go toward scholarships at the Boys and Girls Club.

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