Axel Axgil, whose struggle for gay rights helped make Denmark the first country to legalize same-sex partnerships, died here on Saturday. He was 96.
The cause was complications from a fall, the Danish gay rights group LGBT Danmark said.
In 1948 Mr. Axgil was a founder of that organization, one of the oldest gay rights groups in Europe, originally known as the Association of 1948. He was fired from his job when his role in the organization was made public.
In 1955 Mr. Axgil, then known as Axel Lundahl-Madsen, and his partner, Eigil Eskildsen, with whom he had lived since 1950, were convicted on pornography charges and sentenced to short prison terms for running a gay modeling agency that sold pictures of naked men. While in prison, they melded their first names into the shared surname Axgil as a public show of defiance.
Axel and Eigil Axgil later ran a resort hotel that catered to a predominantly gay clientele.
In 1989, after years of lobbying by the Axgils and other advocates, Denmark became the first country to allow same-sex civil unions when the Danish Parliament passed a law giving homosexuals most of the rights and obligations of marriage, although not the right to adopt a child. (That right was granted last year.) Other countries in Europe soon followed suit.