Glenn Cunningham and Adriano Vilar have become the first couple in Ireland to have their civil partnership formally recognized by the state.
Both men work together and entered into a civil partnership in Northern Ireland last year.
Under new laws civil partnerships became recognized in Ireland last Thursday. On that same day the couple where at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service offices attempting to sort out Vilar’s residency status.
A Brazilian resident, the 29-year-old has been living in Ireland for the past two years on a student visa.
“At first the officials didn’t know what to do, they’d never dealt with a legally binding civil partnership involving a gay couple,” Mr Cunningham (43) told the Irish Times.
“Eventually, the officials came back and said: ‘Congratulations – you’re the first couple in Ireland to be recognised as civil partners’. We were shocked – we couldn’t believe it!”
Mr Vilar adds: “My reaction was like, ‘Wow-wee, yahoo! Really?’ I’ve always felt quite insecure – only living here on a student visa. We went off and got a bottle of champagne to celebrate.”
In addition to the new laws, the first Irish civil partnerships are expected to take place in April.
Kieran Rose of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) said that this marked a new dawn for lesbian and gay couples.
“Civil partnership opens up a new vision for their relationships and their lives and creates the legal framework for a more secure future,” he said.