Stig and Steen were the first in Denmark – now they are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary

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“When he first jumped out, there was a mother from Jutland who wrote that when Stig Elling could do it, it was nice that her son was also gay.”

The words come from Steen Elling, who is sitting with her husband Stig Elling at the other end of the tube.

On 15 June at 13.00, they have been married for 10 years – the first gay couple to get married in Denmark – and on that very occasion, BT has spoken to them.

The couple have known each other since 1987, but it was not until 2006 that they jumped out in public. In the same year, 75-year-old Stig Elling was named Gay of the Year by what was then called the National Association for Gays and Lesbians, today the association is called LGBT Denmark.


Stig and Steen have had dogs all their lives.  They do not have it anymore because Stig is very weakened by Parkinson's.  He was diagnosed in January 2020.

Stig and Steen have had dogs all their lives. They do not have it anymore because Stig is very weakened by Parkinson’s. He was diagnosed in January 2020.
Photo: Per Gudmann

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He said at the time that it was his role in the media during the natural disaster of 2004, when a tsunami washed over 11 countries in the Indian Ocean and killed 225,000 people, making him feel that he was not one hundred percent honest.

The Danes did not know him. They only knew the director of Star Tour, who during the tragedy acted several times the Danish spokesperson in the media. The man on the red carpet always arrived staggered by his partner Steen and stood far away from him when the press inquired into his love life.

“We made what is called a controlled source in the magazine Se og Hør, where we were allowed to read the article before it was published,” Steen and Stig continue:

“People in our circle knew it well, so that way it was not that difficult for us to do. Although we in the state were afraid that it would affect my company. But that is, when I look back, a stupid thought. It was well received. “

It was important for Stig Elling to be the role model he did not have when he was young. It overshadowed the nervousness and fear of consequences.

“You could say that we have paved the way a bit. There must be some pioneering figures you trust. And there I am so lucky that people have liked us. “

After the two jumped out as a couple, a new battle began. They wanted to get married in the church.

At the end of 2011, when it was decided that from the summer of 2012 it should be legal to get married in the church as a gay couple, Stig Elling was a member of the municipal council in Frederiksberg for the Conservatives. His party would vote against the bill.

This led Stig Elling to tell his party colleagues that if he did not vote individually so that he himself could vote yes, then he resigned from the party. They agreed, and soon after the change in the law lay there.

“After the many years of struggle, we thought that then it was also most natural that we were the first to get married. We were in Frederiksberg Church, here where we live, “says Stig Elling.

“It was a wonderful day. The sun was shining, it was so wonderful, “Steen continues.

He says that TV Avisen had asked if they could follow him and Stig the morning before the wedding, but they had said no. It would be too much on a day when they were already a little nervous.


The couple invited the press to Frederiksberg Garden, where they drank a glass of champagne in a boat in one of the park's lakes.

The couple invited the press to Frederiksberg Garden, where they drank a glass of champagne in a boat in one of the park’s lakes.
Photo: Per Gudmann

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The couple married a few family members and friends at church, but when they stepped out, they were greeted by a sea of ​​flashlights. Press from near and far had turned up to document the historic event.

“There was press from even Russian and French television. You would almost think it was a Hollywood premiere, “says Steen and laughs.

“I have never met so many press people. I was completely shocked, “Stig continues.

The rest of the day was spent in the couple’s cottage.

Why was it so important to you that gay couples should be allowed to marry?

“Because we need equality. It can not be true that as a homosexual you cannot be married in a church. We have always meant that, and that is why we have fought for it, “answers Stig Elling.

The fight for marriage means they can celebrate their ten year wedding anniversary and 35 years of partnership on Wednesday.

It’s many years. What’s the secret?

‘To respect each other and do some good things together. We have had a wonderful life, where we have traveled almost all over the world, “says Steen, after which Stig takes the floor:

“Then I would say that the most important thing is that you can adapt to each other. I have always boned a lot and been very busy, so I was often away for a long time at a time. I have said before that Steen should have the Nobel Peace Prize because he has been able to endure me for so many years. “

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