31 March 2011 – E-mail to GlobalGayz
Call to remove Danish Penal Code on HIV transmission
Dear Minister of Justice, Mr. Lars Barfoed and Minister of Health, Mr. Bertel Haarder:
We, the undersigned, non-governmental and community-based organisations, national and regional networks working on HIV and AIDS congratulate you on
your wise decision to suspend section 252 (2) and (3) of the Danish Penal Code on HIV and AIDS. The remarkable progress in treatment options for people living with HIV that allows for the possibility of a normal life expectancy, and greatly reduces the possibility of exposing others to HIV is certainly a good reason to reconsider the law on HIV and AIDS.
However, in your important work on the revision of the Danish law, we strongly urge you to consider whether the particular section in the Penal Code that relates specifically to HIV exposure or transmission should exist at all. HIV exposure or transmission should not be singled out for special consideration as a criminal offence but should be treated in the same manner as other serious communicable diseases.
Punitive laws on HIV and AIDS undercut basic HIV prevention and sexual health messages and are ineffective in reducing the spread of HIV. Since HIV mainly spreads from persons not aware of their HIV status, such laws only fuel ignorance, fear, stigma and discrimination against people aware they are living with the virus. We strongly believe such laws are counterproductive since they lessen the likelihood that individuals will learn their HIV status and access treatment.
In our opinion, consistent with rational, public health-based policy, only intentional transmission of a serious communicable disease should be criminalised. In addition, we strongly suggest that the Danish Government support efforts that emphasise shared responsibility for HIV prevention and the importance of providing comprehensive prevention and care services for people living with HIV to help reduce the risk of transmission to others.
Non-governmental and Community-based Organisations
24 October 2011 – PinkNews
Denmark set to introduce gay marriage
by Jessica Geen
Lawmakers in Denmark are considering legalising gay marriage. Church minister Manu Sareen told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that gay couples may be allowed to wed in the spring of 2012.
He said: “I look forward to the moment the first homosexual couple steps out of the church. I’ll be standing out there throwing rice. I have many friends who are homosexuals and can’t get married. They love their partners the same way heterosexuals do, but they don’t have the right to live it out in the same way. That’s really problematic.”
Denmark legalised civil unions in 1989. According to the Copenhagen Post, around 69 per cent of the public support gay marriage.
October 30, 2011 – On Top Magazine
Danish Gay Marriage Pioneer Axel Axgil Dies At 96
by On Top Magazine Staff
Axel Axgil, who fought to have his gay relationship recognized by the Danish government, has died at the age of 96, the AP reported. Axgil was a co-founder of LGBT Danmark, one of the oldest gay rights groups in Europe. The group, established in 1948, announced that Axgil had died in a hospital in Copenhagen on Saturday from complications arising from a fall.
Axgil, who was born Axel Lundahl-Madsen, and his partner Eigil were among the 11 couples to inaugurate Denmark’s civil unions law in 1989, becoming the first gay and lesbian couples in the world to be recognized with nearly the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. The men combined their first names to create the surname Axgil. Eigil Axgil (born Eigil Eskildsen) died in 1995. “Axel Axgil was a modest man who never cast himself as a lonely warrior,” LGBA Danmark spokeswoman Vivi Jelstrup said. “He always underscored that there were many involved in the work [of gay rights in Denmark] and that it was a common cause.”
October 31, 2011 – Peter Tatchell Foundation
Death of Axel Axgil 1915-2011 – A great LGBT Pioneer – Co-founder of Danish gay organisation 1948
by Peter Tatchell
London – Axel Axgil led a life very well lived, for five decades with his partner, Eigil Axgil. Together, in 1989, they became the first couple in the world to receive state-sanctioned recognition and rights as same-sex partners, under Denmark’s trail-blazing registered partnership law. A true LGBT pioneer, Axel co-founded the Danish LGBT movement in 1948 and the International Homosexual World Organisation in 1954. He remained an active campaigner until his late 80s. He was a modest, warm-hearted, generous, intelligent and pioneering humanitarian. There is one aspect of Axel’s many extraordinary achievements that is little known.
With the particular help of Hans Christian Thaysen, and also Axel’s support, I was able to campaign from 1994-2000 to posthumously publicly unmask the Danish Nazi war criminal, SS Dr Carl Vaernet, who experimented on gay prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp and who escaped justice at the end of the Second World War with Allied connivance (possibly because they mostly saw nothing wrong with Vaernet’s bid to ‘cure’ homosexuality). Vaernet lived openly in Argentina, with the knowledge of successive Danish and Allied governments, until he died in 1965. There was never any attempt to put him on trial with the other Nazi doctors.
Axel was in his late 70s when he contacted me about the Vaernet case, with just a few vague, sketchy details. But he had a very sharp, forensic mind, and gave me some useful suggestions. As a result of his encouragement, and especially the substantive evidence collated and passed to me by Hans, I did further investigations. In 1998, I wrote to the then Danish Prime Minister, Poul Rasmussen, to demand full disclosure of Vaernet’s war crimes and the post-war cover-up by the Danish authorities. These letters led to huge media coverage of the Vaernet case, parliamentary questions and a public outcry in Denmark.
Eventually, this resulted in the release of top secret files on Vaernet, the naming of 31 Danish war criminals (including Vaernet) and exposure of the six decade-long cover-up and collusion by the Danish Justice Ministry (from 1949 to 1999). In 2004, three Danish journalists published a book on Vaernet and how he was protected, pursuing the evidence that we’d uncovered and expanding it.
Here is the summary I later wrote about these efforts to expose Vaernet and his escape from justice. I could have never unearthed what I did without Han’s and Axel’s help and encouragement. I thank them. Axel Axgil deserves great admiration from all LGBT people, Danes and humanitarians. A true hero. I salute him. He will live on through his extraordinary contribution to LGBT human rights. I feel very fortunate to have worked with him.
23 November 2011 – PinkNews
Denmark set to introduce gay religious wedding ceremonies “in spring 2012?
by Stephen Gray
The Danish government announced today it will introduce laws to allow gay couples to have full religious wedding ceremonies. Gay couples can already receive blessings at the end of mass in the Danish Lutheran Church, to which 80% of the population belong. Under new plans, which will be launched in February of next year, couples will be allowed to have full wedding ceremonies. Under the new proposals, Danish clergy would still be able to refuse to marry gay couples.
Church Minister Manu Sareen told the Danish press: “The first same-sex weddings will hopefully become reality in spring 2012.” Denmark was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex unions, in 1989, and acts of homosexuality were decriminalised in 1933. In October, Axel Axgil, gay rights pioneer and one of the first two men to enter into a civil union anywhere in the world died, aged 96.
According to the Copenhagen Post, around 69% of the public support gay marriage.