Highway Patrolman Dennis Engelhard was killed while assisting a stranded motorist on Christmas, 2009. His partner of 15 years has been denied survivor benefits, and takes his case to the State Supreme Court. Kelly Glossip says first faced the devastating loss of his partner, then faced the hardship of finding out he wasn’t entitled to any survivor benefits.
Attorney Maurice Graham tells the Supreme Court Engelhard had listed Glossip as the beneficiary of his pension and benefits, and was never told they would not be paid out.
Graham says the court has before it a decision in which they must consider the date the case was decided, because this is a growing area of law, and decisions in cases like this throughout the U.S. are very different than they were even a decade ago. Graham tells the Supreme Court they could not get married by law in Missouri, but they were a family in every sense of the definition.
Glossip says finding out he was not elegible for survivor benefits after Engelhard’s death put him under tremendous financial hardship. However, he says he’s pushing the case forward for all gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people in Missouri … not for himself.
The American Civil Liberties Union is assisting Glossip in pursuing the suit. The suit names the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees Retirement System as a respondent.
“Dennis and Kelly were a family in every sense of the word,” says ACLU attorney John Knight. “They owned a home together, shared cars and bank accounts, and Dennis even helped Kelly care for his child from a former marriage. They vowed to take care of each other in good times and in bad. As a matter of basic fairness, Kelly should be entitled to the same security as other bereaved partners of troopers killed in the line of duty.”