FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 21, 2013
SANTA FE, NM—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, the national ACLU, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed an emergency request with New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court to allow a Pojoaque same-sex couple, Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman, to legally marry immediately because Jen suffers from a severe medical condition that may prove fatal in the near future. Jen suffers from a life-threatening form of brain cancer, and her health has deteriorated severely in the past few months. Today’s request seeks an emergency order from the court that would allow the couple to marry so that their three children will be legally protected should Jen pass away.
"After 21 years in an intimate and committed relationship, including raising three sons together," said Lynn Perls, attorney with the New Mexico freedom to marry lawsuit, "Jen Roper and Angelique Newman are facing Jen's terminal diagnosis together. They both need the safety net provided by marriage under the laws of the state of New Mexico and our country, and they cannot afford to wait. They deserve the chance to marry now, before it is too late."
Jen's sudden and severe illness prevents the couple from traveling out of state to marry in a place that does not discriminate against same-sex couples. Emergency relief from the court would allow the County of Santa Fe to issue Jen and Angelique a marriage license, which in turn makes accessible the legal protections and benefits necessary to protect themselves and their family in this time of crisis.
Said EQNM Executive Director, Amber Royster: "Same-sex couples face these painful and devastating circumstances every day. Every second that passes without legal recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples is added fear and uncertainty about whether we can provide for and protect our families. EQNM applauds the courage of Jen and Angelique to help bring this reality to the forefront of the debate here in New Mexico."
Contact: Amber Royster, 505-224-2766 or firstname.lastname@example.org