Man posthumously marries Legion of Honour recipient in France

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Friday, June 2, 2017

On Tuesday or Wednesday, by varying reports, Etienne Cardiles married his late partner Xavier Jugelé at a posthumous wedding ceremony in France. Xavier Jugelé was a police officer posthumously awarded France's Legion of Honour — amongst the highest honours of France — after he was killed in the line of duty in April of this year.

Some reports indicated the guests included former French President Francois Hollande and current Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.

The BBC reported this ceremony may be the first posthumous same-sex wedding in France, where posthumous weddings are legally allowed under the country's civil code. Hollande, while in office, granted Cardiles permission; posthumous marriage guidelines on the French government's website say the president may grant permission if the petitioner, here Cardiles, shows serious cause and the other partner's willingness to be married. In China, posthumous weddings are also practiced in a form called "ghost marriages", arranged for deceased with a living or dead partner.

Jugelé had a civil partnership with Cardiles. Jugelé was a campaigner for gay rights, and as an officer worked in Paris since 2014. He also was deployed in the November 2015 Paris attacks.

On April 20, Jugelé was fatally shot twice in the head on duty by a convicted criminal Karim Cheurfi during the Champs-Élysées shooting incident of that day. During the shooting, two other officers were wounded, and Cheurfi was fatally shot in action.

At a remembrance ceremony for Jugelé in April, then-President Hollande gave him the Legion of Honour. Cardiles said in eulogy, "I have no hatred, Xavier, because it is not like you and does not fit with what made your heart beat nor what made you a guardian of the peace."