Dennis Engelhard, a gay Missouri Highway Patrol trooper, died on Christmas Day after exiting his car to wait with a driver involved in an accident. A passing SUV struck him on the highway. But that’s not where the pain ends. In fact, it’s just beginning, because Engelhard is survived by his partner of 15 years, Kelly Glossip, and their 17-year-old son Dennis (from Engelhard’s previous relationship), who are receiving nothing in the form of a pension, or even assistance from the usual slew of groups that care for the surviving spouses of troopers. And the Highway Patrol didn’t even mention them in relaying his death.
Above, Queerty family Jay and Brian Leffew share how this story hits them personally: Jay is a cop. But in California, where they reside, their relationship is recognized, and were Jay to be fatally harmed in the line of duty, Brian wouldn’t be left out in the cold. But with Glossip, the pair aren’t legally married, and thus the Highway Patrol — a state agency — can refuse any benefits and pension.
“I should have the same rights as any other spouse, as heterosexuals would have,” says Glossip. “And I just don’t understand why people are so bigoted.”
Backstoppers paid $5000 to Engelhard’s parents. The group says it didn’t know about Glossip’s and Engelhard’s relationship.
The Masters, a group dedicated to helping the families of fallen Missouri Highway Patrol troopers, says they are still reviewing the case.
And for their part, the Missouri Highway Patrol tells us some of Engelhard’s benefits will be paid out according to beneficiaries he listed. But a spokesperson says Glossip is not eligible for any benefits through Engelhard’s retirement pension because the two aren’t legally married in Missouri.
If we fought for civil unions, that met the same requirements as a marriage, except for the name, we’d have greater success. But there are those who are stubborn in wanting the name.
@Tami: Tami I am sorry but you are just wrong. That’s what people thought in New Jersey but companies started denying benefits to same-sex employees because their plans spelled out married. This is why it is so important. It is more than a word. Seperate but equal ends up never being equal. Do some research and see how the two aren’t the same.
I was born in Missouri and now live in Kansas. They are two of the most hateful states in the USA west of the Mississippi. After the Lawrence v. Texas ruling came down from SCOTUS our state attorney general (and anti-abortion fanatic)in Kansas refused to recognize the full extent of the ruling by the nation’s highest court until he was ultimately forced to do so in the final Matthew R. Limon adjudication.
Missouri is just as bad.
This is why we in the GLBT community need to be added to the 1964 Civil Right Act, and also have our family’s rights, benefits, and obligations recognized nationally.
As the wife of a local St Louis police officer, I am just appalled. We expect Backstoppers and other groups to support us at the worst times so we do not have to worry about mortgages and car payments. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kelly and his son, I am so sorry for your loss.
You can update information by going to the link below concerning Dennis Engelhard, the gay Missouri Highway Patrol trooper who was killed and his same-sex partner shamefully ignored as his “significant other” of over 15 years.
Kelly Glossip should be added to the survivors list. Click on link to update memorial info:
How sad, this kid’s Father died in the line of duty and he now has to see this……….All should hang their pathetic heads in shame…………..
Is his son also left out? I don’t understand how pensions work for officers at the federal level, but shouldn’t his biological son get any money or did he have to do that himself through a will?
I read on another site that the son is really Glossip’s son from a previous relationship, and not the deceased’s son. That would make sense about his name being left out of the obituary and no benefits being offered to him.
Either way, it’s still unfair, because Engelhard still raised him as his own, and was with his father for almost all his life.
I really don’t understand how anyone (Maggie G., I’m talking about you) can believe they are protecting families when things like this happen and two innocent people are left out in the cold, suffering alone with the loss of their father/partner.
Shame on you NOM and all the other bigots out there who pretend to fight for “family’s rights”.
When did America become so cold and evil?
Joe wrote: “When did America become so cold and evil?”
The actual question should be: When will America STOP being so cold and evil? Those are a couple of the “traditions” the majority of Americans like to uphold — of course, as long as it doesn’t affect their own lives.
But I get your point, Joe.
So has Gallagher gone from “Naghanenu” to “Tami” now?
What the grieving family is dealing with — other than abject stupidity — is that many st8s think we and our families don’t matter as much as they do. And Missouri proves that it doesn’t value the lives of Engelhard’s surviving family.
The state claims ignorance of Mr E’s relationship BUT offered him no way to provide or prove evidence of his being coupled. Double standard?
This is sad. I hope the mainstream press picks up the story. Ideas how to make that happen?
I won’t get into the should he/shouldn’t he get pension, but I do wonder about how forthcoming Kelly is. I have read article after article and watched video about his fears of losing his house and even car. Bare minimum…there would have been a life insurance provided by the state equal to 3 times his annual salary that would have gone to whomever he designated as a beneficiary. Additionally, there were other life insurance options he may or may not have carried and he could designate anyone he wanted as a beneficiary on those as well. If Dennis wanted Kelly as the beneficiary and named him as such, then Kelly is not going to lose his car…and shouldn’t lead the media and the public to believe that he is in such dire straits. If Dennis did not name Kelly as the beneficiary, then nothing more needs to be said on any matter. I understand Kelly wanting to create awareness over a law he feels is unfair to some people, but he also needs to be very real and not mislead others into thinking he is going to be destitute.
Missouri Fact Finer
The son is Glossip’s son from a previous marriage — not Engelhard’s.
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