SA premier apologises for 'insensitive' treatment, vows to recognise overseas same-sex marriages

David Bulmer-Rizzi (left) tragically died while he and husband Marco Bulmer-Rizzi (right) were honeymooning in Adelaide. Source: Facebook

Same-sex marriage advocates have welcomed a commitment by South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill to amend state legislation to recognise overseas same-sex marriages, after a gay British man was refused next-of-kin status when his husband died in Adelaide.

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill said state laws that prevent the recognition of international same-sex marriages are being reviewed after a gay British man was refused next-of-kin status when his husband died in Adelaide.

Marco Bulmer-Rizzi's husband David died on Saturday after falling down stairs and cracking his skull at a friend's home during the couple's honeymoon in Adelaide.

The death certificate read "never married" and Mr Bulmer-Rizzi was not allowed to authorise decisions surrounding his husband's funeral.

"We’re presently undertaking a review of our legislation to prevent these sorts of things happening to other people."

Speaking on ABC’s 7.30 program, Mr Weatherill said the death certificate had been corrected.

‘We were able to catch the death certificate before it was issued and the offensive description of 'Never married' won't be included," he said.

“This demonstrates that there is real pain and hurt caused when these relationships are not recognised."

"We’re presently undertaking a review of our legislation to prevent these sorts of things happening to other people."

"These laws are archaic. They should be remedied at a national level ad they should be remedied in every state and territory."

Mr Weatherill said he was "deeply ashamed” of what had happened, and he had apologised personally to Mr Bulmer-Rizzi.

British High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings thanked Mr Weatherill for his comments.

Marriage equality

Mr Weatherill said full rights for same-sex partners would only be resolved fully when gay marriage was legalised.

"Ultimately, this is about recognition of same-sex marriage and there are so many things that flow from that, such as basic acceptance in our community of people at every level," he said.

Mr Bulmer-Rizzi was left devastated after being "completely overlooked" in the wake of his husband's death.

"Every single question I was asked - whether or not I wanted David cremated, whether or not I wanted David to have a service, or be washed, even the cost of the coffin they were to use - after I gave my answer, David's father was consulted," he told Buzzfeed.

"He was also specifically asked, `Do you want to look this over before it's signed?' It was outright discrimination. If I didn't get on with my in-laws, I don't know that I would have any rights."

Lawyers react

The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has welcomed the premier’s statements.

ALHR President Nathan Kennedy said it “strongly supports Premier Weatherill’s move to introduce legislation consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations including the principles of equality and non-discrimination as set out in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Australia’s obligations under the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Celebration of Marriages”.

“The obligation not to discriminate imposes a positive duty on the Government to prevent discrimination within its jurisdiction. The Government can do this through allowing same sex marriage in…Australia and recognising same-sex marriages that have been entered into in foreign jurisdictions.”

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch