Even as we applaud the growing number of states embracing marriage equality, there are couples for whom it comes to late: Equality Florida has shared the tragic story of Liz Molina, who passed away this week before Florida lifted its ban on same-sex marriage and before she could be recognized as a wife and mother.
Liz, 35, succumbed to cervical cancer on Monday, just days before before her partner Joan Rodriguez is due to give birth to their son, Liam.
Liz's life insurance was canceled, because they were not married, she was unable to receive treatments for four months.
Had they been able to legally marry, Liz would have had access to health insurance denied to her because the couple was not recognized as family. Liz would also be listed on the birth certificate of the son who will be born within days of her passing.
The day Liz died, Joan wrote her a letter:
"[I know you] wanted so desperately to enjoy our son. I promise to teach Liam all about you. He will know his history. He will know how loved and desired he was by you. He will always know how strong and resilient you were for him and how hard you fought to be able to be here for him.
I will make sure he knows that his name means strong-willed warrior and that it is a perfect representation of his family. We may not have been able to get married legally or have you adopt our son legally before you left us, but we will always be a family."
Its too late for Liz and Joan, but Equality Florida has launched a campaign to help pay for Liz's medical bills and funeral, and the cost of Joan's pregnancy.
Even as Liz fought for her life, she and Joan took on the role of activists for same-sex marriage. Last month Liz spoke to the Orange County Commission and helped persuade them to support Equality Florida’s lawsuit for marriage equality.
Watch her testimony below.