A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri's statewide group that fights for LGBT rights issued the following statement today about the Missouri Supreme Court Decision in not giving survivor benefits to a same sex spouse.
In their press release, PROMO says,
We at PROMO are disappointed in today's ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court. Kelly Glossip, represented by ACLU of Missouri, lost his partner of 15 years, Cpl. Dennis Engelhard in a tragic accident on Christmas Eve nearly four years ago. Engelhard was killed in the line of duty while he was helping a stranded motorist. Glossip was the beneficiary of Englehard’s compensation plan and would receive part of a life insurance policy. When it was issued, the state rejected his request for survivor benefits because Glossip and Englehard were not married legally.
Kelly Glossip sued and filed a lawsuit with the help of ACLU of Missouri in December 2010.
Both PROMO and ACLU of Missouri filed briefs in the summer of 2013 outlining the arguments in this case. PROMO’s brief stated “the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in U.S. v. Windsor evidences an ‘evolving understanding of equality.’”
The Missouri Supreme Court decided on narrow grounds to deny survivor benefits because Kelly Glossip and Cpl. Dennis Englehard were not married in a jurisdiction where marriage is legally recognized. The Supreme Court ruling was a disappointment for Kelly Glossip and their son. The ruling denies a true recognition for the commitment of the couple and their family. They exchanged rings on Christmas Day, several years before the passing of Engelhard.
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO concluded, “The opinion offered by the court is shameful. The heart of this case is about access to survivor benefits in the death of a loved one. The Missouri Supreme Court declined to recognize the ability of Kelly Glossip to bring this case forward because he and Cpl. Dennis Englehard were not married in a jurisdiction where marriage has since become legal. Despite evidence showing well over a decade together, where their lives were intertwined, the Court has completely denied any justice for Kelly Glossip at the loss of his partner killed in the line of duty. The statement by the court completely sidesteps the fact that couples cannot access the benefits of marriage in Missouri.”
Bockelman added, “With the wave of lawsuits and marriage cases going forward around the country, this statement is an embarrassment to justice, equality, and will be go down in history as a blemish. Make no mistake, equality and justice will prevail, and the fight will continue.”

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