The premier of Adelaide in South Australia has apologised to a gay British widower after state authorities refused to recognise his marriage on his husband’s death certificate.
Thirty-two year old David Bulmer-Rizzi died on Saturday after he fell down stairs while he was on honeymoon.
The state does not recognise same-sex marriage, and widower Marco Bulmer-Rizzi was told that his husband’s death certificate would read “never married”, despite his protests.
He was also told he would not be recognised as next of kin, with funeral arrangements having to be made by David’s father.
The couple had lived in Sunderland, and legally married in London last year, however South Australia does not recognise any same-sex marriages, even foreign ones, as legal partnerships.
The premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill said he had since phoned the widower to express his sorrow at his treatment, the BBC reported.
"He told me that in a range of ways he felt disrespected by a number of authorities that he was associated with, not all government some of them in government, and I expressed my apology for that behaviour," Weatherill said.
"I also committed myself to putting before the South Australian Parliament measures that would prevent this from happening again."
Bulmer-Rizzi said Weatherill had also promised to reissue his husband’s death certificate with the correct marriage status.
Weatherill has called upon the federal government to introduce legislation legalising gay marriage.
"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," he said.
"This will only be properly dealt with once we have same-sex marriage legislation at the Federal level."
Opinion polls taken over the past year revealed that between 60% and 72% of Australians support gay marriage.
Three states in Australia – Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland – all recognise overseas same-sex marriages as state civil partnerships, with Victoria is expected to follow.