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SupCo-Survivor Benefit-Gay Marriage

SupCo-Survivor Benefit-Gay Marriage

Woman seeks state survivor benefits after wife's death


The Associated Press - January 8, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. - A former Rapid City police officer has asked South Dakota's Supreme Court to allow her to collect state retirement system survivor benefits after her wife, a former police captain, died of cancer.

An attorney for retired Rapid City officer Debra Anderson argued Tuesday to the high court that South Dakota's previous unconstitutional prohibition against same-sex marriage can't be used to deny Anderson the benefits.

Anderson appealed a lower court ruling against her.

The 64-year-old Anderson was denied benefits because she and former Capt. Deb Cady weren't married before Cady retired in 2012.

Cady retired because of breast cancer. Anderson and Cady were a long-committed couple then, but weren't married because it wasn't legal at the time.

They married in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. Cady died two years later.

A lawyer for the retirement system argues that Anderson isn't entitled to survivor benefits. He says Anderson is asking the court to create a marriage in 2012 when one didn't exist.



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