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New Mexico woman who sued to marry partner dies

  • Associated Press
  • November 12, 2013 - 5:40 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. — A New Mexico woman who sued so she could marry her longtime partner this summer in one of a cascade of same-sex weddings in the state has died.

Jennifer Martin Neuman-Roper, who lived in the community of Pojoaque near Santa Fe, had been suffering from terminal brain cancer and died on Friday at the age of 44, according to an obituary on DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory's website.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico issued a statement saying her participation in the group's 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."

Jennifer and Angelique Neuman-Roper had an impromptu service at Christus St. Vincent Cancer Center in August after a Santa Fe judge required the Santa Fe County clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All the counties representing the state's major population centers are now issuing same-sex marriage licenses and several smaller counties have also followed suit.

Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar kept her office open into the evening the day the judge issued the order to give more people the opportunity to get married before the weekend.

She also sent a staffer to the hospital where Jennifer Roper was being treated so she could marry Angelique Neuman.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is considering an appeal of an Albuquerque judge's ruling in a separate case allowing gay marriage in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. The ACLU and others brought the case on behalf of Neuman-Roper and five other same-sex couples. County clerks statewide asked the justices to clarify state law because eight of the 33 clerks are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Neuman-Roper had a degree in materials engineering and worked as a technician at the Los Alamos National Laboratories and later at a local Boys and Girls Club, according to her obituary. She is survived by her mother, wife Angelique Neuman-Roper, and three sons, Jayms, David, and Damion.

A memorial service is set for Nov. 18 at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Espanola.

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