Summary of SC92583,
Kelly D. Glossip v. Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System
Appeal from the Cole County circuit court, Judge Daniel R. GreenArgued and submitted February 27, 2013; opinion issued October 29, 2013
Glossip was represented by Maurice B. Graham of Gray, Ritter & Graham PC inSt. Louis, (314) 241-5620; Anthony E. Rothert and Grant R. Doty of the ACLU of EasternMissouri in St. Louis, (314) 652-3114; Stephen Douglas Bonney of the ACLU Foundation of Kansas and Western Missouri in Kansas City, (816) 756-3113; Roger K. Heidenreich of SNR Denton US LLP in St. Louis, (314) 259-5806; John A. Knight of the LGBT & AIDS Project of the ACLU Foundation in Chicago, (312) 201-9740; and Joshua A. Block of the LGBT & AIDSProject of the ACLU Foundation in New York, (212) 549-2593. The state was represented byJames R. Ward and Emily A. Dodge of the attorney general’s office in Jefferson City,(573) 751-3321.Several parties filed briefs as friends of the Court. A group of Missouri law professors wasrepresented by Michael J. F. Byrne of the Law Firm of Haden & Byrne in Columbia,(573) 442-3335, and Stephen Sanders of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor,Mich., (734) 904-2280. Certain current and former elected officials were represented by Harold L. Lowenstein, Richard B. Scherrer, Thomas B. Weaver and Winston E. Calvert of ArmstrongTeasdale LLP in St. Louis, (314) 651-5070. The Law Enforcement Gays and Lesbians (LEGAL)International and its affiliated chapters were represented by Juliet A. Cox and M. CourtneyKoger of Kutak Rock in Kansas City, (816) 960-0090; and Christopher R. Cox of the LambdaLegal Defense and Education Fund Inc. in Chicago, (312) 663-4413. PROMO was represented by Denise D. Lieberman, an attorney in St. Louis, (314) 780-1833.
This summary is not part of the opinion of the Court. It has been prepared by thecommunications counsel for the convenience of the reader. It neither has been reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court and should not be quoted or cited.
This case expressly does not involve a challenge to the state constitution’s ban onsame-sex marriage or its statutory counterpart. Rather, it involves a challenge to two statutes – the first providing benefits to a surviving spouse of a state highway patrolman killed in the lineof duty, and the second providing that the word “spouse” in the first shall refer only to amarriage between a man and woman. The circuit court affirmed an administrative decisiondenying a man survivor benefits because he and a patrolman killed in the line of duty were notmarried. In a 5-2 per curiam decision that cannot be attributed to any particular judge, theSupreme Court of Missouri affirms the circuit court’s judgment. The man acknowledges that thestatute denies benefits to all unmarried couples regardless of whether the patrolman and survivor were of the same or opposite sex. As such, the statute discriminates solely on the basis of maritalstatus, not sexual orientation, and the man did not challenge the state’s prohibition against same-sex marriage. The survivor benefits statute does not violate equal protection because its spousalrequirement rationally is related to legitimate state interests of limiting survivor benefits tospouses, who may be more financially dependent on the deceased patrolman than an unmarried partner, which also may serve administrative efficiency and control costs by preserving theretirement system’s limited resources. This statute also is not an unconstitutional “special law”