Marco and David Bulmer-Rizzi (Facebook)
The British man whose husband died on honeymoon in Australia was further traumatised when airport staff confiscated his partner’s ashes.
In January, we reported that Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, 38, was humiliated when Australia’s lack of recognition of his UK marriage to David Bulmer-Rizzi, 32, compounded the tragic loss.
While on honeymoon in Adelaide, David fell down a staircase, cracked his skull and died in hospital.
Their relationship was not legally recognised in Australia and Marco had to get approval for the funeral arrangements from David’s father. The Australian death certificate also stated that the deceased man’s marital status was “never married”.
It’s now been revealed by BuzzFeed that days later, after cremating his husband, Marco faced the additional horror of having David’s ashes confiscated at Hong Kong International Airport because he could not show that they were next of kin.
“I felt like I was losing him again. All I wanted was to be able to travel with David’s ashes on me so he wouldn’t have to travel back by himself,” said Marco.
The official repeatedly asked who the remains were of. “I said, ‘My husband, David.’ At that point I wanted the world to know that it was my husband. And she asked me, ‘What do you mean “your husband”?’”
Marco, who was still in shock after the recent loss, demanded to speak to a supervisor. Eventually, the superior relented, returned the ashes and allowed him to continue on to the UK.
He’s criticised the British government and the consulate in Melbourne for not being able to provide him with a letter or some documentation to help him travel with the ashes, which he knew could be problematic.
“They weren’t aware. It came as a complete surprise to them that somebody who is in a same-sex marriage might find themselves in a position where they’re not recognised as the next of kin.”
Marco has called on the UK government to better assist same-sex couples overseas. He also advised married gay couples to seek legal advice before travelling to countries where their marriage is not recognised.
In February, Marco scattered his late husband’s ashes in David’s home town of Houghton-le-Spring in England.