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In Memoriam

Plaintiff in N.M. same-sex marriage lawsuit loses battle with brain cancer

Monday, November 11, 2013

SANTA FE, N.M. — Jennifer Neuman-Roper, one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit seeking marriage equality in New Mexico, died on Friday of advanced cancer. She was 44.

Roper, who in August married Angelique Neuman, her partner of more than 20 years, played a pivotal role in struggle to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in New Mexico.

ACLU New Mexico

ACLU New Mexico

T.S.  Last, Albuquerque Journal/APAngelique Neuman, left, and Jen Roper, right, celebrate their wedding at Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center, where Roper is undergoing treatment, Friday Aug. 23, 2013 in Santa Fe, N.M.

T.S. Last, Albuquerque Journal/AP
Angelique Neuman, left, and Jen Roper, right, celebrate their wedding at Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center, where Roper was undergoing treatment, Friday Aug. 23, 2013 in Santa Fe, N.M.

Because Neuman-Roper suffered from Stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, the couple asked a judge in Santa Fe to allow them to marry case before her illness rendered her incapable. With only months to live, the couple feared the issue of same-sex marriage would not be resolved before Neuman-Roper’s death.

One week earlier, a county clerk in Dona Ana County decided on his own to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after determining that the state’s marriage laws, as written, were gender neutral.

Neuman-Roper’s heath, however, precluded the couple from traveling 300 miles south to marry in that county.

“I want to know that my family will be protected if I pass away,” Neuman-Roper said last August. “Angelique and I have been married in our hearts for 21 years and raised three wonderful children together. Because of my illness, we do not have the luxury of waiting years for the courts to decide whether loving, committed same-sex couples can marry in New Mexico. For us, the time is now.”

Days later, on August 23, the couple legally married after a N.M. judge ordered Santa Fe County to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, prompting County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to dispatch a staffer to the chemotherapy suite at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, to issue Roper and Neuman their marriage license.

The couple married that same day in an impromptu ceremony at the cancer center.

Neuman-Roper’s 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,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico, in a statement Monday.

“She was a beloved member of her community, a loving mother and wife, and a trail blazer for marriage equality in New Mexico,” he said. “She will be missed.

Since August, eight counties in New Mexico have issued marriage licenses to same sex couples. Meanwhile, their lawsuit is currently on appeal to the New Mexico State Supreme Court, which is expected to deliver a ruling soon.

Neuman-Roper becomes the first person to be issued a New Mexico certificate of death that acknowledged a surviving same-sex spouse, according to the ACLU-NM.

She is survived by her wife, Angelique, and sons Jayms, David, and Damion.

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161 more reader comments:

  1. I m so sorry. hope the battle for legislation continues on positively

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:31am
  2. How sad, We must do her justice in not just New Mexico but the USA!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:32am
  3. =-(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:33am
  4. R.I.P and ur with god who loves u no matter who u love

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:33am
  5. May Jennifer’s memory be a profound blessing to you, Angelique. From Oregon we send our condolences, feeling so grateful you two were able to marry legally!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:39am
  6. My thoughts and prayers are with You Angelique <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:40am
  7. so sweet abd sad. God Bless both of you.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:44am
  8. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:46am
  9. =/

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:46am
  10. So sorry for her loved ones :’(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:49am
  11. I want to say “oh god” or “god keep you” but I do do not want to be associated with all the hatemongers… this is so wrong

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:50am
  12. My heart goes out to her and her wife and family.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:55am
  13. Jennifer you are a hero and look how much you have done for so many. Love and healing energy to your wife. You will be missed <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:00am
  14. How very sad. I hope that her battle for equality is soon won in New Mexico. Brava for her courage and fortitude.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:00am
  15. God Bless

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:02am
  16. My deepest sympathy to you and your sons Angelique on the death of your wife Jennifer. Lots of thoughts and prayers coming from Utah.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:05am
  17. God bless her and her family, and for the record, she didn’t lose any battle. She died.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:18am
  18. My prayers are with her family

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:21am
  19. I’m speechless and heart broken…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:26am
  20. ❤️

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:37am
  21. my condolences to her partner.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:37am
  22. so sad, rest in peace jennifer

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:39am
  23. I’m so sad. She was a pioneer who led the fight where no fight should have ever existed. RIP Jennifer. My sincerest condolences to you Angelique.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:43am
  24. Condolences to those who lost a loved one.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:44am
  25. So sad…my heart goes out to the family….

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:47am
  26. {hug}

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:49am
  27. shame on repugs and the church..the blood is on your hands

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:37am
  28. Bless

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:59am
  29. Rest In Peace, Beautiful Soul.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:45am
  30. RIP…God be with your partner and family

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:50am
  31. So sad. :-(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 9:33am
  32. R.I.P.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 9:39am
  33. Sad! Thank you for being an Angel for the LGBT Community.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:18am
  34. My deepest sympathy.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:40am
  35. May Jennifer Neuman-Roper Rest In Peace and may perpetual Light shine upon her.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:41am
  36. Blessings and gratitude

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:57am
  37. So sorry to hear this. Both were so strong. My sympathy to her family.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:14am
  38. Rest peacefully

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:30am
  39. I remember seeing them on the news. RIP and my condolences

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:40am
  40. God Bless her and her family. Rest in peace dear Jennifer.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:57am
  41. R.I.P. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:57am
  42. :,c RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12:12pm
  43. My condolences to her family!! You have left a wonderful legacy!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12:12pm
  44. OMG …. I’m glad her last days were spent fighting for someone and something she loved Rip

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12:18pm
  45. Thanks to Jennifer and Angelique for their work to bring equality to N.M. during such a difficult personal time. My deepest condolences.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12:45pm
  46. Liking, not that she died, but that she got to see through to getting married, when so many have not been able to make it that long…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:07pm
  47. RIP.That is so sad.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:09pm
  48. a real shame.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:11pm
  49. Very sorry for your loss.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:15pm
  50. She fought the good fight…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:23pm
  51. So sad. Thank you for your work on behalf of human rights. You will be missed.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:56pm
  52. oh no…R.I.P

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 2:00pm
  53. Oh gosh, RIP…..and may her partner be comforted by all of us who grieve her loss but also support equality.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 2:01pm
  54. RIP and thank you for fighting for equality!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 2:45pm
  55. Prayers for her WIFE.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 2:54pm
  56. So sad to hear may god be with the family

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 3:47pm
  57. RIP❤️

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:06pm
  58. Lets go New Mexico. Make Jenifer a lasting Legacy for all of us.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:15pm
  59. Too sad..

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:15pm
  60. Aweeeeeeee :’(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:21pm
  61. RIP :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:21pm
  62. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:22pm
  63. :-( RIP equality warrior….

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:22pm
  64. :’(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:22pm
  65. So sad,…God bless and my prayers……

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:22pm
  66. So sad, RIP :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:22pm
  67. RIPP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:23pm
  68. ola tngo una duda qisiera saber q significa la “Q”

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:23pm
  69. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:23pm
  70. This is so sad. RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:23pm
  71. RIP :’(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:24pm
  72. This breaks my heart

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:24pm
  73. RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:24pm
  74. I am so sorry. She was a brave, determined woman and her memory should be cherished.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:25pm
  75. =,( R.I.P <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:25pm
  76. Requiescat In Pace! :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:25pm
  77. Awwwwww man that’s sad!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:25pm
  78. RIP my prayers go out to your family and wife :-(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:26pm
  79. May God be with them

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:26pm
  80. so sorry…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:26pm
  81. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:27pm
  82. so sorry for your loss…..

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:27pm
  83. Prayers to the family of this beloved equality seeker! I hope to see equality in my life!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:28pm
  84. So sorry for your loss.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:28pm
  85. RIP…so sorry for her brave partener.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:28pm
  86. sad…RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:29pm
  87. :-(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:29pm
  88. My condolences

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:29pm
  89. What an amazing story. Some people are destined to do great things with their life. We should all be so thankful she held through with her quest. God bless

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm
  90. So sorry

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm
  91. love and prayers to friends and family. Honor her!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm
  92. So so sorry for your loss

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm
  93. Sorry to
    Hear this.
    so close!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm
  94. So Sad prayers to entire family!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:31pm
  95. I hate to hear that, but at least u can use the rainbow as a cat walk to heaven. RIP <3

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:31pm
  96. Damnit, now I want cake.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:31pm
  97. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:32pm
  98. So glad she made her dream come true! My deepest condolences to the family. She was one very lucky and grateful to have spend her life with someone who truly loved and respect her.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:34pm
  99. Rip sorry for your loss x

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:34pm
  100. Warm thoughts, love, and light to your wife and children!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:37pm
  101. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:38pm
  102. RIHeaven

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:38pm
  103. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:40pm
  104. RIP sweet angel

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:40pm
  105. That’s sad.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:41pm
  106. sad

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:41pm
  107. My prayers to her and her loved ones

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:43pm
  108. So sorry for your loss.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:43pm
  109. So sad to hear..thoughts and prayers to her partner and family R.I.P

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
  110. RIP, only 44 years old…..

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:46pm
  111. My heart goes out to her partner and loved ones. RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:47pm
  112. ♥♥

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:48pm
  113. RIP sorry for your loss

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:49pm
  114. I’m sorry for ur loss.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:50pm
  115. Shame on you New Mexico!
    Shame!, Shame!, Shame!, Shame!, Shame!!…:(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:51pm
  116. So sad. But she married the love of her life and had three children, so I would call her lucky in that way

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:53pm
  117. So sorry for your loss, so very proud of your spouse.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:55pm
  118. Sorry for your loss

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:56pm
  119. You have my love strength and sympathy so sorry

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:57pm
  120. sad :(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:02pm
  121. Prayers sent

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:04pm
  122. bummer…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:05pm
  123. So SAD and Sorry for your LOSS!!!! And to Rachel Sherman and Frankie Piper this is NO TIME for such stupid comments and likes of such!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again My condolences for your loss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:09pm
  124. Rest in peace dear. No more pain, no more battles, and you will see them again.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:17pm
  125. She was extraordinary. and the world was. Better for it..she paved the way and she lived authenticly

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:20pm
  126. Awww that’s a shame

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:22pm
  127. So sorry to hear of your loss, in my thoughts

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:26pm
  128. :-( rip

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:30pm
  129. Sad.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:36pm
  130. Thanks for fighting a Great Fight, for equality!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:38pm
  131. What a beautiful and heartbreaking story ! She was a trail blazzzer ! May love surround the ones she left behind. Thanks for sharing this story LGBTQ Nation

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:39pm
  132. So sorry to hear, but happy for your time together!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:51pm
  133. So sorry for your lose r.i.p.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:55pm
  134. Sad. R.I.P. courageous woman.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:43pm
  135. Sad, RIP. My thoughts go to her love ones. ‘The heart would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears’. You are not alone.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:52pm
  136. This is totally messed up in all aspects. For her to not be able to express her love as all other “adults” are allowed by law. This woman was robbed of her happiness by spiteful mal adjusted bigots.
    Fuck NM!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00pm
  137. Loving thoughts and prayers go out to the family….

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:20pm
  138. So sad!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:36pm
  139. So very sorry for loss.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:40pm
  140. :( RIP Mrs.Neuman-Roper

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:46pm
  141. So sad

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:54pm
  142. KEEP FIGHTING THE FIGHT, YOU CAN NOT BACK DOWN NOW

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:30pm
  143. so very sorry for your loss!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:46pm
  144. Sad indeed. Cancer is a terrible thing. Let us pick up the banner and continue to fight for equality for all in the good ole USA.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:53pm
  145. God bless her soul. Prayers and good thoughts to the widow…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 9:51pm
  146. So sorry. RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:04pm
  147. Loving thoughts !

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:10pm
  148. that not fair everyone has a right to be happy no matter if ther gay, lesbian, or bi, no one should suffer

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:16pm
  149. so sad. Rest in Peace

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:29pm
  150. What very incredible woman, thank you

    Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:46pm
  151. glad she saw success.. so sorry she is gone..

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 12:21am
  152. So sorry. Very glad you were able to get married.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:07am
  153. I’m so sad and so sorry.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:14am
  154. r I p and god bless you both

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:31am
  155. That is a shame. At least the country is changing for the better in this respect.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:37am
  156. She is a wonderful hero to my community. I’m happy she had real love. I believe we are eternal and death is blissful release.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:51am
  157. Sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:58am
  158. Sorry

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 3:19am
  159. thank you for your help with our fight. you battled alot. rest in peace

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 3:30am
  160. Thanks for fighting the good fight, while fighting cancer. You are an inspiration to the rest of us. RIP dear angel, and God’s grace and mercy to all who love you.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 5:03am
  161. Sad to hear that.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 5:03am