SD high court rules against woman in same-sex benefits case

Published: Feb. 21, 2019 at 12:24 PM CST
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South Dakota's Supreme Court has ruled against a retired police official seeking state retirement system survivor benefits after her wife, a former police captain, died of cancer.

The high court said in a Wednesday opinion that retired Rapid City officer Debra Anderson isn't entitled to the benefits because she and former Capt. Deb Cady weren't married before Cady retired in 2012 with 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.

Anderson argued the couple would have been married much earlier if not for the state's prohibition against gay marriage. Attorney James Leach says he's "very disappointed."

The state argued Anderson was asking the court to create a marriage in 2012 when one didn't exist.

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