On This Gay Day: In 1989 Denmark approved registered partnerships

In 1989 same-sex couples in Denmark were able to register their relationships

In 1989 Denmark led the world in LGBTIQA+ rights when Registered Partnerships became available to its citizens from the 1st of October.

The new laws were approved earlier in the year in June and came into effect a few months later. The laws gave same-sex couples almost all the same rights as marriage without using the same term.

The law was changed further in 2009 and again in 2010 to allow for the care of children and adoption rights. Marriage equality was achieved in Denmark in 2012. Once marriage between same-sex couples was legal Registered Partnerships were discontinued.

The country was the eleventh nation to allow same-sex couples to wed, but their registered partnerships process, approved more than a decade earlier was a world first. Many countries would bring in civil unions and partnership registers before embracing marriage equality.

Denmark led the way in providing legal recognition for same-sex couples around the globe.

The first couple to enter into a Registered Partnership were Axel and Eigil Axgil 

Axel Lundahl-Madsen was born in 1915. While Eigil Eskildsen was born in 1922. They changed their surname to Axgil, which was a combination of both of their first names. In 1948 they formed Denmark’s first LGBTIQA+ rights organisation, originally called F-48 it later became the Danish National Association of Gays and Lesbians.

The couple also launched a queer magazine Vennen which translates as The Friend.

When they became the first Danish couple to enter into a Registered Relationship, they had been together for 40 years. In 2013 Axel Axgil was named by Equality Forum as one of the 31 icons of Gay History month, and Denmark’s annual Rainbow Awards are known as The Axgils.

Eigil Axgil passed away in 1995 and the age of 73. In 2012 a biography revealed that in 1943 he had enlisted in the Waffen-SS during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. He remained in service until the end of the war. The revelation sparked angry responses from the local LGBTIQA+ community. Axel Axgil died in 2011 at the age of 96.

OIP Staff

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