Gay Partner of Slain Trooper Sues for Survivor’s Benefit

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 03 2010 7:20 AM ET

Kelly Glossip sued Missouri on Thursday for the survivor’s benefit denied him because his relationship with his partner, Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, a state trooper killed in the line of duty, was not legally recognized by the state.

Engelhard, a 49-year-old highway patrol member, was killed on Christmas Day when a vehicle struck him as he was investigating an accident.

The Associated Press reports that under Missouri state law, spouses of highway patrol members and Department of Transportation workers killed in the line of duty can receive an annuity of 50% of the employee’s salary, a benefit that was denied Glossip despite his 15-year relationship with Engelhard.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on his behalf in Cole County circuit court.

“At a news conference Thursday in St. Louis, Glossip said Engelhard never tried to hide that he was gay from other troopers,” reported the AP. “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 though Engelhard considered the boy his stepson.

“In calling for flags to be lowered to half-staff in Engelhard’s honor, Gov. Jay Nixon asked the state to pray for the trooper’s family, including his parents, but not for Glossip or his son.”