THE FIRST GAY couple in the state to have their civil partnership formally recognised appear to be Glenn Cunningham and his partner Adriano Vilar.
Cunningham and Vilar, a Brazilian citizen, held their civil partnership ceremony in Northern Ireland last year. Ireland officially began to recognise civil partnership in the Republic on Thursday 13 January 2011 – and that date was also the very day the couple visited the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to try to sort out Vilar’s residency.
Cunningham, 43, told the Irish Times: “At first the officials didn’t know what to do, they’d never dealt with a legally binding civil partnership involving a gay couple. 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!”
The couple said that they celebrated the news with a bottle of champagne.
However, it seems that the newlyweds may have some competition: Noel Dolan from Cork has informed TheJournal.ie that when his husband Juan Calos broke his arm 24 December he was admitted to Cork University Hospital where his medical file records him as married – with Noel as his spouse.
“When the medical bills started coming in I went to the HSE and the Dept of Social Protection last Thursday to get help,” Noel explained, “They photocopied the English translation of our Spanish wedding certificate (we were married March 20th 2010 in Barcelona) and opened a file for us accordingly . No fuss, no fanfare, all very matter-of-factly”.
The first Irish civil partnerships will take place from this April and will give benefits to gay and lesbian couples in areas such as residency, social welfare, property, succession, pensions and tax.
[caption id="attachment_69492" align="alignnone" width="296" caption="Noel (on registrar's left) and Juan Carlos (on her right) were married in Barcelona last March. "][/caption]