News & Commentary written by Jane Blackburn and Lyn McCoy

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Jane Blackburn and Lyn McCoy


Greensboro, North Carolina

Jane and Lyn met in 1991 and have been in a stable, loving relationship for more than 20 years. Their careers have taken them many places together, including a two and a half year stint in Moldova where Lyn worked for the Peace Corps, before they moved permanently to Greensboro in 2008.

In 2011 they were legally married in the District of Columbia. One year later, Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer, and although she is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments, the cancer has spread to a Stage IV diagnosis.

“Lyn has been right there beside me the whole time,” Jane says. “They tell us it’s not curable, so we’re just doing everything we can to keep it at bay.”

They worry what will happen if Jane dies before their marriage is recognized in North Carolina. “If Jane dies without the state recognizing our marriage, we’ll never be able to have the dignity of other married couples,” Lyn says, “and there is no guarantee that I will be able to recoup the benefits that we would have been entitled to if it had happened during her lifetime.”

“North Carolina is our home, and it’s important for us to have our love and our commitment to each other recognized here,” Jane says.