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State Supreme Court rules against awarding survivor benefits to Highway Patrolman's partner

The Missouri Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday denying the long-term, same-sex partner of a Missouri Highway patrolman survivor pension benefits.  

Cpl. Dennis Engelhard died on Christmas Day in 2009 when he was struck by a vehicle while investigating a traffic accident on Interstate 44 in Eureka.

Missouri offers a payment to the surviving spouse of a Highway Patrol officer killed in the line of duty.

But the statute governing survivor benefits defines marriage as between a man and woman. Missouri also has a prohibition on same-sex marriage in the state Constitution.

Engelhard's partner, Kelly Glossip, did not receive the benefit and argued that the state violated the equal-protection clause of the state constitution.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-2 ruling, concluded Glossip is ineligible for survivor benefits because the two were not married — not because Glossip is gay.

The ruling states that the fact the two could not be married in Missouri is not relevant. 

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