Current Affairs

Australia refuses to recognise marriage of gay man who died on his honeymoon

Joseph McCormick January 20, 2016
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A widower whose husband died while they were on a honeymoon in Australia has been left heartbroken as the country refuses to recognise their marriage.

David Bulmer-Rizzi died last weekend after falling down a set of stairs and cracking his skull whilst on his honeymoon in South Australia.

As South Australia does not recognise same-sex marriage, his widower Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, said he was told the death certificate would read “never married”.

Marco was also told he would not be recognised as next of kin, and that funeral arrangements would be made by David’s father Nigel Bulmer.

Marco Bulmer Rizzi

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Marco said he felt in the eyes of the South Australian Government “I’m nothing”.

The couple, who lived in Sunderland, England, got married in June 2015, and travelled to Australia in December for a delayed honeymoon.

The British high commissioner’s office in Canberra, said the situation was “very distressing”, and that the office would look into it.

Bulmer-Rizzi said he was told “legislation differs from state to state … and as such when registering death the local authority cannot state the deceased as married”.

Having written to David Cameron and the Foreign Office, he has called on Britain to defend its equality laws abroad.

“I understand they can’t change Australian law, but I’m not asking them to,” he told BuzzFeed.

“I’m asking my own country to stand by its own laws. If the British government is aware that other countries do not recognise same-sex marriage they should try to defend what their law says.”

Harley Schumann, South Australian convenor for Australian Marriage Equality, said: “Most South Australians would find it appalling that our law has failed to recognise the love and commitment in David and Marco’s relationship.

“A high priority for us is lobbying the South Australian government so this can’t happen again.”

The issue of same-sex marriage is a hot topic in Australia, where a plebiscite, or public vote, is expected to take place some time in the next two years.

The Government has remained opposed to giving a free vote on the issue to its MPs, without which a vote in the country’s Parliament would not pass.

Related topics: Australia, Australia, david bulmer-rizzi, marco bulmer-rizzi, South Australia

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