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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 10, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 50
Section One
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Gay partner of trooper killed on duty sues for survivors' benefit

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Gay partner of a Missouri trooper killed in an accident sued December 2 for the survivors' benefit denied him because the men's 15-year relationship was not legally recognized by the state.

Last Christmas, Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, 49, of the Missouri Highway Patrol was investigating an accident on Interstate 44 when he was hit by a vehicle and killed.

According to Missouri law, spouses of Highway Patrol members and Department of Transportation workers killed on duty are entitled to an annuity of 50% of the employee's salary.

Engelhard's partner, Kelly Glossip, was denied the benefit (despite being named as beneficiary on other assets) because the men were not married and - even if they had been - Missouri would not have recognized their marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued on Glossip's behalf in Cole County Court, seeking to obtain the survivors' benefit for Glossip and others who would find themselves in the same situation in the future.

Glossip said Engelhard never hid the fact that he was Gay from other troopers. But after the accident, Engelhard's obituary described him as single and made no mention of Glossip or his teenage son from a previous marriage - even through Engelhard considered the boy his stepson.

Dennis gave his life protecting the people of Missouri, yet the state treats his family as legal strangers, Glossip said. This is a disservice to his memory. The Missouri Department of Transportation and Patrol Employees' Retirement System said in a statement that it was following the requirements of state law in denying the benefits.

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