The legendary Axel Axgil (1915 – 2011) and Eigil Axgil (1922 – 1995) were Danish gay activists and a couple for 40 years. In 1989 they became the first gay couple to enter into a registered same-sex partnership anywhere in the world. The event followed Denmark’s legalisation of same-sex partnerships the same year. The Axgils were instrumental in the bringing about the required legislation and were selected as the first of 10 couples to be married on 1 October 1989.
The ceremony was performed by Tom Ahlberg, the deputy mayor of Copenhagen, in the city hall. The event gained worldwide media attention. In 2013, Axel Axgil was named by Equality Forum as one of the 30 gay icons of all time. Axel outlived his partner by 16 years and lived to see civil partnerships and gay marriages spread across the globe.