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A British man whose husband died while they were on honeymoon in Australia has been denied the right to be recognised as the dead man’s next of kin.

Marco Bulmer-Rizzi has appealed to the UK government after the South Australian government refused to recognise his marriage to David Bulmer-Rizzi, with the death certificate stating his late husband’s status as ‘never married’.

Marco Bulmer-Rizzi woke to find his husband in a pool of blood after falling down the stairs in the Adelaide house they were staying in. He was placed in an induced coma but had swelling of the brain and succumbed to his injuries.

Had the accident taken place in Melbourne or Sydney, the eastern states which recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas, there would not have been an issue. But instead, Marco Bulmer-Rizzi was not allowed to make any decisions following his husband’s death – these were passed to family members who had to fly in from the UK.

David Bulmer-Rizzi’s father Nigel Bulmer, said in an interview: “I flew out here to support my son-in-law. I’m a 60-year-old man, I’ve been in the fire brigade for many years, I thought was shockproof. But I was horrified and deeply hurt by the words I heard there: that they’re going to put on the death certificate ‘never married.’ It’s not acceptable. It’s also not true. I was there.”

In another interview he said: “It’s degrading. It demeans my son’s memory and denies their relationship.”

Harley Schumann, South Australian convenor for Australian Marriage Equality said, “Most South Australians would find it appalling that our law has failed to recognise the love and commitment in David and Marco’s relationship.

“A high priority for us is lobbying the South Australian government so this can’t happen again.”

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