Same-sex partner of fallen Mo. trooper sues for state benefit

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img 23441 Same sex partner of fallen Mo. trooper sues for state benefit

Dec. 2, 2010 - Kelly Glossip (center) listens to ACLU executive director Brenda Jones speaking from the podium during a press conference Thursday in St. Louis. Glossip is suing the Missouri State Highway Patrol and MoDOT for survivor benefits given to the spouses of state troopers who died on the job. To the right is Glossip's attorney, ACLU legal director Anthony Rothert. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMOX/AP)  –  The same-sex partner of a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty is suing for benefits denied him because the men are prohibited from marrying.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court.

“We were a family, and Dennis and I supported each other like any other married couple,” said Kelly Glossip, who had lived with trooper Dennis Englehard for 15 years at the time of Englehard’s death, during a press conference at ACLU headquarters in St. Louis.  “We would have gotten married ourselves, had only Missouri law allowed it.”

Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was hit and killed by a vehicle on Christmas Day, 2009, while he investigated an accident on
Interstate 44 in Eureka.

Under Missouri law, spouses of employees who are killed on duty are entitled to an annuity of 50 percent of the employee’s average salary.

But Glossip has no legal right to the survivor’s benefit, though he was named as beneficiary on other assets.

Glossip says Engelhard gave his live protecting the people of Missouri, but his family is treated as strangers.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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