Gay Rights Pioneer Axel Axgil Dead at 96

Danish activist tied the knot in world's 1st gay marriage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2011 2:38 AM CDT
This Oct. 1, 1989 file photo shows Axel Axgil and his partner Eigil Axgil, right, during a celebrations to mark their marriage, the first same-sex marriage in the world, at Copenhagen City Hall.   (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Morten Langkilde, File)
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(Newser) – Axel Axgil spent decades fighting to make Denmark the first country in the world to legalize same-sex partnerships and, after victory in 1989, was the first to enter a union under the new law. Argil, who has died at the age of 96, helped found one of Europe's oldest gay rights organizations in 1948. In the decade that followed, he lost his home and his job because of his activism, AP reports.

Axgil personified the country's struggle for gay rights, but "was a modest man who never cast himself as a lonely warrior," a spokeswoman for the organization he co-founded says. "He always underscored that there were many involved in the work and that it was a common cause." His partner of more than 40 years, Eigil Axgil, died in 1995.

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