The Post-Dispatch has an article about the late Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, a gay Missouri trooper who was killed during a traffic accident on Christmas, while he was on-duty. The Justice Department might pay a large benefit to Engelhard's partner, but he won't receive similar payments from Missouri.
Under the rules of the state pension system that covers the Missouri Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation workers, if a trooper dies in the line of duty, his or her spouse is eligible for lifetime survivor benefits.
The yearly benefit is equal to half of the officer's average salary during the officer's highest-paid three years as a trooper. For Engelhard, the benefit would have been $28,138 a year. But Missouri pension law is clear about defining a spouse, recognizing only a marriage between a man and a woman.
In their defense, officials say they've never paid benefits to long-term girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. of straight troopers, either. The rule has always been that benefits go to a spouse.