Partner Of Slain Missouri Trooper Denied Survivor’s Benefits

Glossip Engelhard

Because when you're in a 15-year committed relationship, you're just friends or something. The Missouri Supreme Court has been working on a case regarding whether Kelly Glossip is entitled to survivor's benefits from the death of his partner, Missouri State Highway Patrolman Capt. Dennis Engelhard who was killed. According to a report from Ozarks First, they reached a 5-2 decision that Glossip is not entitled to benefits. But it's not because they were gay; no, it was because they weren't married.

"Glossip was denied survivor benefits because he and the patrolman were not married, not because of his sexual orientation," the ruling document stated. "If Glossip and the patrolman had been of different sexes, Glossip would have still been denied benefits no matter how long or close their relationship had been. The result cannot be any different here simply because Glossip and the patrolman were of the same sex. The statute discriminates solely on the basis of marital status, not sexual orientation."

This astoundingly disingenuous ruling neglects to mention Missouri Statute 451.022 which states "A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted," so Glossip's claim would still have been denied even if they had been legally married.


  1. Clayton says

    We’re not denying you benefits because you’re gay. We’re denying them because you weren’t married. Not that we’d let you get married. Because we don’t allow gay people to marry each other. So you can’t get marital benefits. But it’s not because you’re gay. It’s because you’re not married. Which we wouldn’t let you do. Because you’re gay.

  2. HadenoughBS says

    Agreed, Martin, isn’t there any recourse for this gay widower, even at the federal level? This situation is disgustingly wrong, wrong, wrong. Surely it won’t end like this!

  3. Kevin says

    Sadly Martin,there is nothing more that can be done other then show how cruel these marriage bans are. There is no federal recourse available for this.
    I also like how the court blamed Kelly Glossip because he didn’t file suit against the ban itself or attempt to leave the state to get married.
    Disguisting ruling but not a suprising one at all.

  4. Mike Ryan says

    Gay people in committed relationships should not live in states that refuse to recognize such relationships. Stop feeding such bigoted states with your own hard working tax dollars. Stop protecting the citizens of a state which refuses to recognize your own committed relationship. When are gay people going to learn that?

  5. Matt says

    @Mike Ryan

    Yes, Mike because all same sex couples have the financial resources to just pick up and move to a different state.

    What a moronic, clueless, insensitive comment on your part!
    You’re also clueless as to the main point of ALL of this. Gay couples shouldn’t have to move to enjoy the same rights that other couples enjoy. These States have no problem taking tax dollars from gay couples but do not extend the same equal treatment. The shade of it all!

  6. Tyler says

    To be fair to the Missouri Supreme Court, a lot of the blame for this goes to the attorney for the poor guy. He explicitly refused to challenge Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state Supreme Court repeated that fact many times, perhaps hinting they might have ruled differently if he had challenged it, but he refused to. I can’t imagine refusing to challenge it with so much money on the line, but there you go. Don’t give up any claims when you go to court, people.

  7. WHATWHAT says

    My issue isn’t with the ruling in this case, my issue is with Missouri’s marriage law.

    He was never going to win this case and didn’t deserve to. The results would have been exactly the same if this couple were straight. Living together does not entitle you to a pension. I fail to see how the ruling is homophobic or disingenuous. It’s pretty much by the book.

    If they had gotten married in a state where gay marriage was legal, maybe there would have been an argument or a gray area. But they weren’t married and he had no legal right to the pension. Even if gay marriage was legal in Missouri, he still would have been denied the pension, because they weren’t married.

    I feel sorry for him and his loss, but from a legal perspective, it’s no suprise. We need to get gay marriage legal in this state so gay couples have a chance to get married and prevent this kind of occurence in the future.

  8. Steve Chapman says

    For those who wanted the couple to marry, you realize there was only ONE state that allowed gay marriage at the time of the trooper’s death. That state was MA. That is undue burden to believe that a couple who is married in EVERY other sense should have. They have to leave the state of their origin in order to receive a piece of paper from a non bordering state that would probably not be recognized when they returned.

    This is the problem with piecemeal approach to civil rights. It is also the problem with having individuals vote on civil rights. Branson was never on my list to visit and I am satisfied with that for sure now…

  9. JackFknTwist says

    That Statute also gives the finger to all US citizens in inter-national marriages.

    Does the USA expect European countries to give benefits to same sex spouses who validly married in Mass. but are claiming benefits in the Netherlands ?
    If the USA denies benefits to its own citizens why should foreign countries act better ?

    It’s all reciprocal, my dears…..that’s what international law is all about.

  10. Endora says

    I love people who think that the way to fight for equal rights is to move to places which are closer to the goal. Imagine how far along we would be if gay people would stand their ground in their native states instead of flocking to gay ghettoes and resorts.

  11. What Century Is This? says

    Only a fool would continue to pretend that this country is a bastion of freedom and liberty. We talk about it, we sing about it, but we don’t practice it. Our national anthem has been a lie for decades, and it continues to be a lie. At what point are American conservatives going to get out of their warped little bubbles and realize that countries all over the world are completely surpassing us in the areas we used to pride ourselves?

  12. James D. says

    Wait asecond… BECAUSE they are Same Sex, they CANNOT get married. That is a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT than being opposite sex and NOT married. Opposite Sexers have an option CLEARLY NOT available to Same sexers.

    I smell a big fat law suit with a payout much much bigger than the benefits, and imho, THAT will tilt the kilts of Missourri Bigots,

    Go get them, boys!

  13. says

    Isn’t Arkansas one of those “common law” marriage states? If so, wouldn’t this couple be “married” in the eyes of the state, if they weren’t a same-sex couple?

  14. Kevin says

    They should have gone after the law itself.
    He got some bad advice from his lawyer on this one,no nice way to put it.

  15. SFRowGuy says

    @Phoenix Justice: That’s what I was thinking. Doing some research, Missouri abolished Common Law marriages in 1921. I had thought it was still in effect in California, but find out that it was abolished here in 1895. Each states term was different. In California, I believe it was after 7 years. 15 years would certainly have qualified, I would think anywhere.

  16. anon says

    I’m going to assume unmarried troopers do not get survivor benefits either. So, if they are going to hand out survivor benefits, in addition to life insurance, pension, and any civil claims money, perhaps they can just have the estate get the benefits to be distributed according to the will of the deceased.

  17. Bobby says

    If marriage is a requirement for a surviving spouse to receive benefits and you deny a couple the legal right to marry, the rule should not be enforceable since the requirement to be married is denied to some people. Why has some genius lawyer not made this argument? You cannot create laws and rules while denying some the chance to reach that requirement.

  18. Canada says

    Those fuckers!!
    In Canada even a heterosexual relationship without benefit of a ‘marriage’ is considered ‘common law’. Hence a partner is entitled to everything.
    Get it together people! Next thing you know you’ll be bitching about universal health care and shut down the country.
    Oy veh!

  19. GLAW2014 says

    If Missouri doesn’t have common law marriage…then there is really nothing to talk about. Is this shameful? Of course, I don’t think any of us deny that. But in the law you have to have an ACTUAL injury and if the two were never married, than there is no injury in which any court could provide redress. This case could have only been challenged had the couple been married and then they could have challenged the State’s constitutional ban on Gay marriage as being unconstitutional.