Current Affairs

British Government closes death certificate loophole to protect gay married couples abroad

Joseph McCormick January 22, 2016
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The British Government has changed its policy meaning if a married couple travels to Australia and one of them dies, their spouse will be recognised on the death certificate.

The change comes after a controversy which led to the Premier of South Australia apologised, as a British widower was not recognised on the death certificate of his late husband.

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”.

Since, the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has called Bulmer Rizzi directly to explain that he hopes the situation can be fixed with legislation.

Now, BuzzFeed News reports that the Foreign Office has closed a loophole, which means from today when a British national travels to Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa, and is in a same-sex marriage, their spouse can still be recognised on their death certificate.

The five countries were previously exempt from having to provide the “UK-style” death certificates.

A Foreign Office spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “The theory was that these five countries are for most purposes the same as the UK in terms of how they do their death certificates. This case has pointed out that they’re not the same in every respect, so that’s why it’s been changed.”

Related topics: Australia, British, death certificate, Government, UK

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