Glenn Cunningham + Adriano Vilar, Ireland’s First Legally Recognized Gay Couple

Since they had a civil partnership ceremony last year in Northern Ireland, a country inside the United Kingdom, Glenn Cunningham, 43, and Adriano Vilar, 29, have become the first gay couple to have their union legally recognized by Ireland, where they live. Congrats, gentlemen!

New couples were allowed to begin registering for civil partnerships last week when the new law took effect, but will only be recognized beginning in April after the mandatory three-month waiting period. Existing unions from other jurisdictions around the world, however, were recognized immediately.

And the timing of Ireland’s new law couldn’t have come any sooner: Vilar, a Brazilian national, has been living in the country for the past two years on a student visa, which limited his job status (he can only work 20 hours per week) and put him at risk of deportation. But when the pair visited an Irish immigration office to address Vilar’s visa concerns, they received some amazing news: “At first the officials didn’t know what to do, they’d never dealt with a legally binding civil partnership involving a gay couple,” says Cunningham. “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!”

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