LGBTQ South Florida

Central Florida woman dies of cancer before marriage to partner, birth of their son

An Equality Florida poster, ‘In Memory of Liz Molina,’ posted online after her death on Nov. 3.
An Equality Florida poster, ‘In Memory of Liz Molina,’ posted online after her death on Nov. 3. Equality Florida

A Central Florida woman died Nov. 3 of cancer before she could marry her partner and just before the birth of their son, Equality Florida announced Thursday.

“Marriage equality will come too late for one Florida family. Liz Molina, 35, passed away on Monday,” Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith wrote to supporters.

More from the mailing:

“Liz and Joan Rodriguez wanted to get married in Florida, and together, raise the child due to be born any day now. But the state of Florida blocked their path to marriage and an aggressive cancer took Liz's life,” Smith said.

“The lack of protections marriage would have provided Joan and Liz has left the family financially fragile and unable to pay for Liz's church ceremony and celebration of life or fully prepare for the birth of their son. We can't allow this additional tragedy,” Smith said. Equality Florida is seeking to raise $10,000 to cover immediate costs for the Molina-Rodriquez family.

Rodriguez spoke to the Orange County Commission in October and helped persuade the majority to support Equality Florida’s lawsuit for marriage equality.

The day Molina died, Rodriguez wrote her a final 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."

Their son Liam is due Nov. 26, according to a baby registry.