Australia: Move To Recognise Foreign Same-sex Marriages In South Australia


South Australian resident, Andrew Birtwhistle-Smith (left) and husband Christopher. Christopher died in August 2015

Australian Marriage Equality has backed a move to recognise foreign same-sex marriages in South Australia.

Greens MP, Tammy Franks, and Liberal, David Pisoni, have announced a co-sponsored bill in response to the humiliation suffered by UK resident, Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, when his husband, David, died suddenly on their honeymoon in Adelaide last year, and now another couple have been similarly affected.

David’s marriage was not acknowledged on his death certificate and Marco was not recognised as David’s next of kin.

The South Australian convenor of Australian South Australia, Harley Schumann, said,

“Recognition of overseas same sex marriages is an important first step for South Australia to catch up with other States and the rest of the developed world with respect to marriage equality.”

“Whilst this Bill is a significant advancement for South Australia, ultimately it highlights the need for the Prime Minister to allow a free vote in the Federal Parliament so we can achieve marriage equality across Australia.”

Speaking at the launch of the Franks-Pisoni Bill was South Australian resident, Andrew Birtwistle-Smith, whose husband, Christopher, passed away in August 2015.

The couple married in Canada over a decade ago, but Andrew was told that he could not have their marriage recorded on Christopher’s death certificate.

Mr Birtwistle-Smith said:

“It was horrific, getting the news that your partner has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly and then a week later I’m sitting in a room with a complete stranger whose telling me that our relationship, our marriage, cannot be recognised.”

Overseas same-sex marriages are already recognised in Tasmania, NSW and Queensland with Victoria set to follow soon. Their recognition in federal law is specially prohibited by the federal Marriage Act.

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