OPINION: Australian marriage laws need changing

THIS time last year I wrote about how Australia needs to get over their 1950's idea of married couples and acknowledge marriage equality.

It was a hot topic, and at the time I was questioned about its necessity when we already recognise a de-facto relationship as just the same.

This week a story came about that highlights our exact need to catch up with the rest of the world.

When British couple Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, and David Bulmer-Rizzi were organising their beautiful wedding in Greece, they excitedly chose Australia to be the place to celebrate their first weeks as a married couple. During their final stop of their journey, the newlyweds stayed with a friend in South Australia. David fell down some stairs - cracking his skull - which sadly led to his death in the Royal Adelaide Hospital, last Saturday.

With the state of South Australia refusing to recognise the marriage of same-sex couples meant that the issued death certificate would register David Bulmer-Rizzi as 'never married'.

The South Australian premier Jay Weatherill personally apologised to Mr Bulmer-Rizzi for the situation.

The problem being that this is not a long-term solution for same-sex relationships in Australia.

Yes, our laws recognise de-facto heterosexual relationships, but we still refuse to extend those same rights to same-sex relationships, and the only time those rights are felt the most is when there is a serious illness or tragedy strikes the relationship.

If the death certificate was issued as 'never married', the legal issues Mr Bulmer-Rizzi would have faced with accessing his husband's life insurance, superannuation or personal effects (would have been far more difficult to prove with such a status. Weddings are there to show that above everything else, that couple have each other's best interest at heart - in sickness and in health.

So to avoid the unwanted battle of proving one's relationship status towards another person, why can't we just let consenting adults have the choice to get married, and just eliminate all the grey areas?

Join the conversation and have your say on the topic below. 


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