The Government has closed a loophole that prevented same-sex married couples being recognised on death certificates in light of a case raised in the name of a Wearside man.
David Bulmer-Rizzi, 32, from Houghton, died in hospital last Saturday after a fall in Adelaide, South Australia.
One lesson I learnt, it may sound silly and a bit of a given, but I really have learnt it, is that you should never be afraid to stand for what you believe in.Marco Bulmer-Rizzi
His widow, Marco, 38, who married David in London last June, was left distraught when told their marriage would not be acknowledged on the certificate as the union wasn’t recognised by authorities down under.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has since personally apologised to Marco for his anguish.
Now, a loophole has been closed, so when a British national in a same-sex marriage travels to Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa, their spouse will be recognised on their death certificate.
Marco has been supported in Adelaide by David’s father Nigel Bulmer, who flew out after his son’s death. The pair were due to arrive home this weekend with David’s ashes.
Marco, who lived with David in Elba Park, said: “I am getting so emotional just thinking of how much change we have enabled and the support has been incredible.
“One lesson I learnt, it may sound silly and a bit of a given, but I really have learnt it – you should never be afraid to stand for what you believe in. It is so true that your voice can bring change and you should speak up when you see an injustice.
“David, I believe in you and in us, and I will stand for it until the day I die.
“No one else will go through it baby, it sucked, but we won.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We have the greatest sympathy for Mr Bulmer-Rizzi and our staff in Australia and the UK have been working hard to offer support and find a practical solution.
“In this exceptional case, we have now put in place a process to issue a death registration quickly.”