Missouri State Trooper Corporal Dennis Engelhard was killed on Christmas Day in 2009. The details of Corporal Engelhard’s death can be found here. Since Engelhard was killed in the line of duty his surviving immediate family members are entitled to numerous benefits, the least of which include: $300,000 tax free from the federal government, a life insurance payout, money from the State of Missouri, a cash payout of any remaining vacation and sick days Engelhard had, as well as donations from various private entities.
Like most states Missouri does not recognize or allow for marriage or civil commitments between individuals of the same sex. This has put Engelhard’s partner of 15 years, Kelly Glossip, at a disadvantage and made it next to impossible for him to collect the monies that Engelhard’s family is entitled to. A detailed story about all this can be found here.
The reaction to the problems faced by Engelhard’s partner have been mixed. The law enforcement community in Missouri seems to be rallying around this cause and as a whole and has come out and supported Glossip’s claim. This support does not go too far though when the letter of the law clearly states who all those benefits go to and that Glossip had no legal relationship to/with Engelhard.
I understand the objection many people take with government legalizing gay marriage. I also understand that legally having a relationship with someone is necessary in situations like this as well as when it comes to other issues. However, I pose the position that many people may have not considered; the option of not involving the government in the issue of marriage at all. I mean who really wants to involve a bureaucracy in the love of two (or more) people? Would we be better off if there were no state recognized marriage? I understand this idea is less than popular among most people but it is still an option. Instead of looking for the government to grant the right to marry whomever we want, instead flip the issue and fight for the abolition of state sanctioned marriage.