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Eigil Axgil, 71, whose lifelong crusade for...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Eigil Axgil, 71, whose lifelong crusade for gay rights made Denmark the first country in the world to allow same-sex marriages, died Friday in Copenhagen, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The cause of his death was not immediately available.

On Oct. 1, 1989, he and Axel Axgil became the first gay men to take marriage vows legally. That same day a law took effect in Denmark that allowed homosexuals to register marriages.

In 1948, the men -- at the time using their original names Eigil Eskildsen and Axel Lundahl-Madsen -- founded the National Homosexual Association, one of the oldest gay rights groups in Europe.

In the late 1950s, both were sentenced on pornography charges to short prison terms for running an international gay modeling agency, said Kai Erik Nielsen, a gay historian.

Shortly after their arrest, the men melded their first names into a new surname, Axgil, and used it ever since.

A. I. Stevens, 107, the oldest World War I veteran in Texas and possibly the nation, died Thursday in San Antonio.

John L. Bates, 85, a military attache and interpreter for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in top-secret talks with Josef Stalin during World War II, died of cancer Sept. 20 in Fairfax, Va.

Gertrude O'Brien Breck, 89, the widow of shampoo company chairman Edward J. Breck and one of his first "Breck Girl" models, died Monday in Springfield, Mass.

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