LGBT Unions Celebrate 30 Years Of History. Thanks Ivan and Ove!

Ivan and Ove are now content to enjoy their retirement in their Copenhagen apartment. But 30 years ago, this couple from Denmark was in the international spotlight. 

On October 1, 1989, the day Denmark officially allowed same-sex couples to register in civil unions, Ivan Larsen legally joined with his partner, Ove Carlsen, 3 1/2 years after they met.

The couple recently reflected on the events on that Sunday, 30 years ago. In the country’s capital of Copenhagen, the deputy mayor Tom Ahlberg officiated the legal recognition of 11 same-sex couples and their “partnerships” – the official term for their civil unions.

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Ove in a pink bow tie and Ivan in blue were the second same-sex couple to be joined legally.  The first couple has since deceased (where as Ove and Ivan were 42 in October 1989 the 1st couple were 74 and 67 years old). 

The civil union celebrated by the couple was equal to marriage in respect to the law, except for the exclusion of the right to adopt, separating it mentally and legally from marriage by excluding the idea of family and procreation from same-sex civil unions. 

The couple reflected on the reason for the nation to allow same-sex unions. They said it was for practicality. With AIDS claiming so many lives, one of the main ideas behind the law was to offer financial security to gay men, so they could legally and easily share possessions and ownership of property and assets. 

In Denmark “until 1866 homosexuality was punishable by death and one couldn’t be openly homosexual until 1933,” Larsen explained. states that between 1989 and 2012, 7,491 civil unions were formed. In 2010, same-sex couples were granted the right to adopt. Then, in June of 2012, new legislation allowed same-sex couples to get married (a little behind other nations, The Netherlands was first in 2000) and Ivan and Ove decided to take the plunge once again and were married.

Currently, we are at 28 countries in the world that have marriage equality with more on the way or close to it. And then there are the ones that are not so good in which to celebrate love. 

*** The United States’ first gay marriage had actually taken place in 1971, when a Minnesota couple obtained a marriage license thanks to an overlooked legal loophole. The marriage was officially recognized in March 2019, after a five-decade legal battle.(

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