In what is most likely an historic first, a gay police officer killed by a gunman in April’s terrorist attacks on the Champs-Élysées, has wed his boyfriend in a posthumous wedding.
Paris policeman Xavier Jugelé was killed by a gunman from The Islamic State. His partner Etienne Cardiles made headlines around the world when he delivered an impassioned eulogy at his April 26 memorial service. (Read it here – prepare to cry).
According to The Guardian, Cardiles married his deceased partner yesterday in a ceremony attended by former French president François Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. It’s believed to be the first posthumous same-sex wedding to take place in France and possibly the world.
Marrying your dead partner is not as strange as it first seems.
Posthumous matrimony in France can be traced back to 1803. The practice became particularly popular during World War I, when it allowed women to wed slain soldiers, thus legitimizing any children conceived beforehand and entitling them to a pension.
France’s current legislation allowing people to marry the dead dates back to 1959, when a woman named Irène Jodard requested permission from former French President Charles de Gaulle to wed her fiancé, André Capra, after he had drowned. Hundreds of people have since applied for post-mortem matrimony under the law, which requires applicants to send a formal request to the president, according to The New York Times.
Though not legal in America, there is the longheld practice of giving police officers killed on duty a posthumous promotion to the next level.
As one HuffPo commenter said:
The purpose is to increase the pension to be recieved by the surviving spouse or child(ren). There are those who think it is a wonderful practice and those who oppose it. But, it has been the practice — now a tradition — for the 45 years I have lived here. I hope the Paris action will qualify the spouse for a pension, also, since it is possible, even likely, that dicriminatory laws or attitudes played a part in the couple not being married earlier.
It’s very sad and touching and I hope it brings about a sense of closure to Cardiles and the families and friends of both men.
(Images via BFM TV)