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Monday 26 September 2016

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

Officials in Australia refused to recognise him as the next-of-kin

Published 20/01/2016 | 14:35

The Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, has personally called a newlywed who was widowed on honeymoon in Australia after country officials refused to recognise the couple's marriage.

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Jay Weatherill has apologised to Marco Bulmer-Rizzi for his treatment at the hands of Australian officials following the death of his husband while on honeymoon in Adelaide.

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Bulmer-Rizzi revealed that he received a direct phone call from the South Australian Premier.

"We were on the phone for a good 10 minutes. He apologised. He said he would work on ways they can bring a change to avoid this happening in the future".

"They are looking to actively change it through legislation and he told me it would happen in the next few months. He promised me that they would reissue the death certificate once that has happened".

"My mind is blown away that the premier of South Australia called to apologise. It’s such an acknowledgment, coming from the top of the state".

"He probably would be proud", Marco said of his late husband. "The fact that through him maybe this is never going to happen to somebody else is such a good thing".

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 and later died from his injuries.

His husband Marco told Buzzfeed News that their marriage - which is perfectly legal in the UK - was not recognised by Australian officials. As a result, David's death certificate 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".

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

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".

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".

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