XXX XXX <chmho@...>
There is no problem, according to Jewish Law, with marrying one's deceased
wife's sister. Although this is not true of one's divorced wife's sister.
As indicated in the wording of Leviticus 18:18. An ancestor of mine married
his deceased wife's sister, although he almost certainly did so while still
in Lithuania (c. 1880)
I can't see any reason at all for her widower status to make it
impermissible to marry the person in question.
I had not heard of the issue in English civil law. I Google'd around and
found that the issue had not been clearly addressed until 1835, and there
were instances of respectable people marrying their deceased wives' sister.
In that year, a bill was passed legitimizing all such previous marriages,
but declaring all such further marriages void. This was overturned in 1907.
Incidentally, the Biblical precept of a man marrying his brother's
(childless) widow has been discontinued/prohibited for a very long time.