Jennifer Martin Neuman-Roper, plaintiff in the New Mexico marriage equality case Griego v. Oliver, passed away on Friday, November 8 after battling cancer. She is survived by her wife Angelique Neuman-Roper and sons Jayms, David, and Damion.
Jen and Angelique joined Griego v. Oliver earlier this year in August, and played a pivotal role in 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 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. As of this wriring, eight counties in New Mexico issue marriage licenses to same sex couples andGriego v. Oliver is currently on appeal to the New Mexico State Supreme Court. The court is expected to deliver a ruling soon.
Jen and Angelique 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. Upon her passing, Jen was the first person to be issued a New Mexico certificate of death that acknowledged a surviving same-sex spouse.
“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.”