The widower of a man whose tragic honeymoon death in Australia sparked a same-sex marriage row says he has been left in limbo as he waits for the correct documentation of his husband’s passing.
David Bulmer-Rizzi, 32, never recovered from injuries sustained in a fall while he and husband Marco were staying at a friend’s house in Adelaide earlier this month.
Grieving Marco, 38, suffered further anguish when told that, because their same-sex union was not recognised in South Australia, David’s status on his death certificate would be recorded as “never married”.
That led Marco to mount a campaign calling for a change in the laws, which then saw him receive a personal apology from the state’s Premier Jay Weatherill, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office pledge to close a loophole in procedures to ensure nobody else is affected in the same way.
Marco, who married David last June in a ceremony in London, has been promised a certificate noting David’s correct marital status but he is now waiting the correct paperwork which will allow him to deal with his late husband’s estate.
That is needed from Australian officials, who will now note David and Marco’s marital status, with information also needed from the British Government.
It’s just an endless loop trying to do all this work.Marco Bulmer-Rizzi
He and David’s father Nigel Bulmer, who flew out to Australia after his son’s death, returned to the North East on Saturday with David’s ashes.
Early next month, his loved ones are planning a lunch and drink in David’s name to honour his memory and remember his life.
Marco, who lived in Elba Park with David, said: “It’s just an endless loop trying to do all this work.
“It maybe could take 25 business days, but I really don’t know, it could change.
“The phone calls will all have to be made again, because they all need a copy of the death certificate. It’s just down to their workflow.
“But I can say and know the death certificate will not say ‘never married’ and will state we were married under British law.
“We’ve started a change already.
“But if it had happened in Sydney, it would have been different, because some states would have accepted we were married.”
Marco, who had been with David for five years before they wed, added he has been stunned with the response his plight has sparked.
“David’s friends have been amazing, a lot of them changed their profile picture on Facebook to David’s, which was spontaneous and I didn’t ask for, but it really benefitted as it raised the issue with people,” he added.
“I’ve had messages from strangers saying it’s done a lot for same-sex marriage and people who have had similar issues.
“If I didn’t love David, I would not have married him, but it was important and vital.
“I don’t care about political situations, but I’m grateful that compared to 20 years ago, we live in a time where we were able to be married.
“For gay people, we live in changed times.”
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson is making representations on Marco’s behalf to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has said she will keep in contact with him on any developments.