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Australia refuses to recognise British couple's marriage after man dies on honeymoon

Marco and David Bulmer-Rizzi were married in London last year.

David (left) and Marco Bulmer-Rizzi on honeymoon in Australia.
David (left) and Marco Bulmer-Rizzi on honeymoon in Australia.
Image: Facebook

A BEREAEVED BRITISH man has asked his government to intervene after an Australian state refused to recognise that he was married to his deceased husband when he died on honeymoon.

Marco Bulmer-Rizzi was on honeymoon with his husband David in Adelaide last Saturday when David fell down some stairs in the middle of the night and hit his head, fatally wounding him.

In the days following his husband’s death, Bulmer-Rizzi was told that the state of South Australia does not recognise same-sex marriages from abroad and, as a result, David’s death certificate would record him as being “never married”.

The pair lived together in Sunderland and were married in London in June of last year. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Australia and while some states recognise marriages that have been conducted abroad, others including South Australia do not.

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Marco Bulmer-Rizzi says that he was told that he would not be listed as his husband’s next-of-kin.

“When the funeral director came that’s when I was told that because Australia doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage, it (the death certificate) will say ‘never married’.”

I asked at that point whether it was possible to say nothing (about his marital status), and I was told, ‘No, that’s not one of the drop down options on the computer. I couldn’t refuse. There was nothing I could have done.

Bulmer-Rizzi says that when David’s parents flew out to Australia they also told local authorities that arrangements were Marco’s responsibility. Despite this, authorities would not acknowledge his input.

“I was completely overlooked,” he says,

I wasn’t the next of kin. Every single question I was asked, whether or not I wanted David cremated, whether or not I wanted David to have a service, or be washed, even the cost of the coffin they were to use after I gave my answer David’s father was consulted.

PastedImage-98221 Source: Facebook

Buzzfeed explains that, usually when a British citizen dies abroad, their death can be registered at a British consulate and they can have a British death certificate. Australia is, however, excluded from this arrangement.

ABC News reports that the Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill will apologise to Marco Bulmer-Rizzi as well as David’s family.

Weatherill has said previously that his administration plans legislation to remove “discrimination” against same-sex married couples.

Read: An Australian gay couple in their 80s wants the right to get married before they die >

Read: Australia might get to vote on same-sex marriage – on one condition >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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