Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why We Need Global Recognition Of Same-Sex Marriage

Marco and David Bulmer-Rizzi, above, were legally married in the United Kingdom back in 2015, and then took a honeymoon in South Australia early this year. Sadly, on that trip, David died after falling down a flight of stairs and what happened next was, possibly, even worse.

Since same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Australia, officials there told Marco that his husband’s death certificate would reflect the status “never married” … except they were married, and legally married at that.

But then it got uglier. While returning home to the UK with his husband’s ashes, Marco was traveling through Hong Kong where airport officials determined that Marco Bulmer-Rizzi did not have the adequate paperwork to legitimize his claim to his late husband’s remains and so they confiscated the ashes.

Yes, The Gays need added paperwork to prove marriage because we are not legally allowed to be married around the world.
“What happened to me and David was the case of stepping outside national borders and finding the legality of our union being thrown into question. It should not come as a surprise to all of the governments that have legislated to protect same-sex couples that other countries are not there yet. There are over 70 countries with laws that make homosexuality illegal. I think it is important for our governments to step up and protect rights of same-sex couples abroad.”
Sadly, for Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, there was no legislative backing from the U.K. to support same-sex couples traveling internationally.
“It was the worst possible blow at the time where I had already lost my soulmate and my life had crumbled. [But] the outpouring of support from people all over the world made me realize there is a lot more light than darkness. “
After putting him through the emotional trauma, officials at the Hong Kong airport finally allowed Bulmer-Rizzi to retrieve his husband’s ashes and return home with them, but the fact remains that for many same-sex couples, this is how we are treated when traveling around the world.

Our legal marriages are unrecognized in certain areas, and, at least in this case, sometimes our own governments won’t step in to help. Marco Bulmer-Rizzi says that he had asked British authorities to provide documentation that validated his next of kin status before leaving Australia, but was not able to do so.

After a joyous event turned tragic and ugly, Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, and his friends, were finally able to scatter David’s ashes in Houghton-le-Spring, David Bulmer-Rizzi’s hometown in Sunderland.


Sadie J said...

How can we even comment on something so devastating? I mean, to lose someone you love like that, and then to go through so much just trying to get home. Even if it isn't legal in the visited countries, you think they could respect the country of origin.

anne marie in philly said...


the poor man lost his husband suddenly and had to jump thru rings of fire just to keep the ashes. SMH

redsrantsandraves said...

We must never assume we have won the war - many battles to be sure, but never the war. So we must remain vigilant and committed to ending discrimination in ever facet of our lives - and in every corner of the earth.
Thank you for this one, Bob - a great reminder.

Fit Studs said...

Agreed, completely agree with that. And what others commented.

Fit Studs

the dogs' mother said...

Very bestest of wishes and respect to Marco Bulmer-Rizzi and friends. Thank you for telling his story.

Michael Dodd said...

And all it would have taken was for one of those bureaucrats to have blinked and simply done the right thing.

My husband and I had a far less serious tangle with Social Security last year -- so small in comparison, that it shames me to mention it -- but it was amazingly frustrating to find that perfectly polite and pleasant people could not see their way to doing "the right thing" for months, even though they agreed that the Supreme Court's ruling had changed everything. Everything except the words in their policy handbook, which they claimed would have to be followed until the Republican Congress had passed a new law revising it. Or we could spend tens of thousands of dollars filing a federal case. This went on for months and although we did not wind up spending money on legal fees, we had to call in the support of our US senator and our US representative.

At which point, bureaucracies being what they are, it was resolved after several appeals by SS denying the appeals (Yup, denying) them) BUT in their terms "taking up the initial application" and approving it. I guess that cleaned their books up and made it look like they had played fair all along.

Condolences to Marco and an apology, on behalf of the human race, that he was subjected to this.

Fearsome Beard said...

This is a reminder to those of us traveling that we must remain aware of even the laws in places we are just traveling through....including some of our own states at this moment in time. Even though our marriage might be legal in said states, individuals we encounter now have the right to deny us services just because of their personal religion.

Helen Lashbrook said...

UK consulates or embassies abroad put helping their citizens in times of need very low down the priority list. The Foreign Office, who control the embassies etc., has suffered huge cuts to its budget so help to travellers abroad will disappear totally. But that is no excuse; Marco Bulmer-Rizzi should have been helped.

Raybeard said...

The vicious cruelty just takes the breath away. Unbelievable - yet when one considers, it shouldn't really be so surprising.