A British man was almost robbed of the ashes of his dead husband at an airport in Hong Kong because he was not consider ‘next of kin’.
David Bulmer-Rizzi died tragically after falling down the stairs during a holiday in South Australia in January. Because of the laws in the state: their marriage wasn’t recognized.
Then, when Marco, his husband, travelled with the remains to Hong Kong airport on January 22, a few days after David’s death, he was stopped.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Marco Balmer-Rizzi said staff at the airport tried to take his husband’s cremated remains away after he told them ‘it’s my husband’.
‘She wanted to open the box. And I said, “These are human remains. It’s my husband. My husband died while we were in Australia.” She just looked at me and said, “I need to take this away.”‘ Gay marriage is not recognized in Hong Kong.
Bulmer-Rizzi said he went into a ‘meltdown’ and would not give up the remains.
‘I felt like I was losing him again,’ he said. ‘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.’
After refusing to give them up, staff relented and he was able to fly home with the remains.
‘The government could have simply issued me a letter saying I was David’s next of kin,’ he says.
Now, Bulmer-Rizzi is meeting with the consulate to find out how it can better serve LGBTI citizens abroad.
In a message posted on Facebook, Bulmer-Rizzi said: ‘I can only speak up because I was able to love David and be loved by him.
‘There is a lot of darkness around, and I have been shoved through a lot of it, but #loveislove and it is stronger than hate.’