With only months to live, cancer patient sues for the right to marry her partner
A New Mexico woman who suffers from a life-threatening form of brain cancer is seeking an emergency order that would allow her to marry her long-term partner.
A coalition of groups filed the emergency request with New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court on behalf of Jen Roper, 44, and Angelique Neuman, 45.
“I want to know that my family will be protected if I pass away,” Roper said in a news release. “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.”
In 2012, Roper was diagnosed with stage-IV glioblastoma and given an 18-month prognosis. Unless Roper and Neuman are allowed to legally marry, Neuman will be denied the protections afforded married couples upon the death of a spouse.
The state’s definition of marriage is already gender-neutral. Marriage is simply defined as “a civil contract, for which the consent of the contracting parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.” New Mexico law only prohibits marriage “based on age and degree of familial relationship between the contracting parties.”
But the Santa Fe Clerk’s office has refused to provide Roper and Neuman, along with other same-sex couples, with a marriage license.
“It has become tragically clear that Jen may not survive the couple’s twenty-year wait for New Mexico to acknowledge and honor their commitment,” the emergency request stated. “New Mexico’s failure to recognize and protect their family has immediate and serious consequence for this couple.
“Before Jen dies or before her medical condition renders her unable to contract, Jen and Angelique want to get married and seek court order instructing the Santa Fe County clerk to stop denying the couple a license and the State of New Mexico to stop depriving the couple and their family the rights and benefits to which they are constitutionally entitled.”
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