Posthumous Marriage


Written by Emily Freud
24 Wednesday 24th February 2010

I stumbled on a law the other day which really confused me. Oddities and loopholes in the law amuse me lots. Like how it’s legal to have sex with animals in Lebanon but only if they are female animals or how women can sell items topless in Liverpool  - but only in tropical fish shops.

This one is a shocker. Did you know that in France you can marry dead people? When I first heard about this I assumed it was one of those out of date laws that had just been forgotten about over the centuries. But actually no, there are dozens of girls applying to the President every year to receive permission for a posthumous marriage. 

The law was founded around the time of the First World War to deal with the scores of broken hearted young ladies. So this little known and even littler discussed law is less than a hundred years old. It was resurrected in 1959 because of the publicity surrounding a woman’s fight for President de Gaulle to allow her to marry her dead fiancé. 

I can understand the premise behind this school of thought, the pain of loosing the love of your life must be devastating, declaring your love publicly must be some sort of comfort. There is something darkly romantic in a way that only the French can get away with. I’m not completely sure it is the healthiest way of dealing with death; it’s basically saying that you’ll morn someone forever.

What if you meet someone else? Would you have to ask permission from the President to divorce your dead husband? So you’ve got this poor bloke 6 feet under who's been married and divorced without a say in the matter at all. And what if he didn’t want to marry you in the first place? That would really piss you off wouldn’t it? Tied to some weepy martyr for eternity. 

I know it’s not that simple and not all of these marriages are granted, because the evidence of his intent is not strong enough. But you can never REALLY know what’s going on in a blokes head. 

Anyway I’ve decided to think of my top dead people I’d marry. As you can see I’ve gone for looks not brains. But hey, I could always divorce them and move onto Einstein.

Heath Ledger

Brad Renfro

River Phoenix

James Dean


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