Gay Couple’s Honeymoon Tragedy Calls for Change in Australian Marriage Laws

Australia’s marriage legislation has been criticised following the tragic death of a British man who was in a same-sex marriage relationship during their honeymoon in Adelaide.

Marco Bulmer-Rizzi was shocked to hear that their marriage will not be recognised on the death certificate of his partner, David Bulmer-Rizzi, and that all the related decisions would be left on his father-in-law. He said that the death certificate will not acknowledge the status of his partner as “married” because the laws in South Australia not only posed a ban on homosexual relationships, but it also denies accepting such legal unions from abroad.

According to Buzzfeed News, David died after he fell downstairs and cracked his skull at a friend’s house. It also reported that when Marco was applying for the death certificate of his husband, he was told that there was no alternative on the computer system for same-sex spouses.

“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’,” he told Buzzfeed News. David was told that the option was non-existent in the computer system. He added that he felt like he was “nothing” at that moment.

David married his boyfriend of five years in 2015 and they travelled to Australia for their honeymoon in December. On Saturday, he died from serious head injuries.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said that he would personally apologise to Bulmer-Rizzi and his family for what they had to go through. He also promised to introduce a bill with discriminatory changes in law in the state in late 2016. “I was very saddened to hear about what Marco Bulmer-Rizzi went through after the passing of his husband, David,” Independent UK quoted Weatherill as saying.

“This is an example of how discrimination based on sexual orientation can cause much pain and hurt,” Weatherill added.

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