Saturday 1 October 2016

Newlywed dies on honeymoon in Australia but death certificate will read 'never married'

Official in Australia refuse to recognise the couple's marriage

Published 20/01/2016 | 09:29

A newlywed is having to fight to have his marriage recognised after his husband was killed on their honeymoon.

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Marco Bulmer-Rizzi(38) and his husband David(32) were visiting friends in Adelaide on their honeymoon when David fell down a flight of stairs.

He died with 24 hours of his injuries, including a cracked skull.

His husband Marco told Buzzfeed News that their marriage - which is perfectly legal in the UK - is not being recognised by Australian officials. As a result, David's death certificate will read "never married" because "saying nothing... is not one of the drop down option on the computer".

"I couldn’t refuse. There was nothing I could have done. They wouldn’t say married. They wouldn’t leave it blank. They would only say, ‘never married’. This was confirmed by email because we complained afterwards".

This refusal to recognise the marriage denies Marco next-of-kin rights, which means David's father is making all of the decisions around his son's death. He told Buzzfeed that the situation is "degrading".

"It demeans my son's memory and denies their relationship. No-one should ever have to go through what we've gone through".

"I was horrified and deeply hurt by the words I heard there: that they’re going to put on the death certificate ‘never married’. It’s not true. I was there".

David is asking supporters to write to their MP requesting that he be allowed to recieve a UK-style death certificate from the British consulate in Australia, as is standard procedure when a Briton dies abroad.

However, Australia is 'expressly excluded' from this procedure, Buzzfeed reports.

UPDATE: Newlywed widow's marriage to be recognised 'in a few months' if new legislation goes through

The couple have been together for five years and married six months ago in London. They had arrived in Australia in late December for a belated honeymoon. Adelaide was their final stop.

Marco explains that he doesn't know what happened to his husband. "I went to bed and David was to follow... he was reading his Kindle".

"I woke up 45 minutes later... I turned on the light and he was lying at the bottom of the stairs in a blood bath".

David was put into an induced coma by paramedics who told Marco to contact any family that needed to fly to Australia. David's parents flew out immediately.

After unsuccessful surgery to relieve pressure on the brain, Marco was "told he will die within 24 hours. There was nothing they could do".

Marco has written to David Cameron, among others, urging the British government to step in.

"I am not asking them to (change Australian law). I'm asking my country to stand by its own laws".

David's organs were donated, and went to "a 40 year-old man with two kids and another person who had been on the transplant list for 1,250 days".

"There’s two children who have their daddy... that person will wake up knowing they have a chance and can see their kids grow up".

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill has apologised to the couple for hurt caused. He has since tweeted that "legislation is being prepared" to recognised overseas same-sex marriages.

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