MARRIAGE equality advocates have come out swinging against Australian laws that do not recognise overseas same-sex marriages after a British man whose husband died while on honeymoon in South Australia was not recognised as his next-of-kin.
When David Bulmer-Rizzi fell down a set of stairs at a friend’s house in Adelaide, cracking open his skull, all medical decisions — except organ donation — had to be approved by his father because Bulmer-Rizzi’s marriage to his husband Marco was not recognised under South Australian law.
[showads ad=MREC] Bulmer-Rizzi’s Australian death certificate also listed him as never married.
Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and Queensland are the only states in Australia that recognise overseas same-sex marriages as civil partnerships in state law. No such recognition exists in other states or territories, nor at a Federal Government level.
The widespread criticism from the news of Bulmer-Rizzi’s death and the discrimination his husband Marco faces has prompted South Australian premier Jay Weatherill to announce he would introduce legislation to recognise overseas same-sex marriages in the state parliament by the end of 2016.
The announcement also came after calls from rights advocates to enact law reform urgently.
“I am angry about the pain David’s partner and family have been put through, the way this tarnishes Australia’s reputation and the fact our federal government has unnecessarily delayed reform by proposing a plebiscite,” Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said.
“This tragedy highlights not only the need for marriage equality but its urgency.”
— Sandra K Eckersley (@SandraEckersley) January 20, 2016
Meanwhile, South Australian Greens Senator Robert Simms called on the Federal Government to recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas.
“It’s appalling that a grieving husband is being treated this way,” he said.
“It really is degrading and humiliating and an example of the cruel nature of this element of Australian law.
“We currently have a situation where overseas same-sex marriages are recognised in three [sic] states but not in others.
“We have to remedy this complex web of relationship laws so that married couples receive the acknowledgement they deserve.”
Simms also planed to write to the Foreign Affairs Minister regarding the matter.
The father of David Bulmer-Rizzi, Nigel Bulmer, flew to Adelaide to be by his son’s side after his accident, according to
“It’s degrading. It demeans my son’s memory and denies their relationship, he told Buzzfeed News.
“It’s cast them as second-class citizens. No one should ever have to go through what we’ve gone through. We’re at the bottom and somebody has dug a deeper pit.”
Marco has urged people to contact Australian politicians to urge them to change laws recognising international same-sex marriages:
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