First Irish public civil partnership services

Tuesday 05 April 2011 19.34
Same sex civil partnership - Law enacted on 1 January
Same sex civil partnership - Law enacted on 1 January

The first public same sex civil partnerships in Ireland have taken place.

Dubliners Hugh Walsh and Barry Dignam were the first couple to publicise their civil partnership.

The new law, which was enacted on 1 January, requires three months' notice to the General Register Office.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network has described today's ceremony as a huge historic moment for the Lesbian and Gay Community in Ireland.

GLEN Chairman Kieran Rose said Irish society used to be one of the most repressive when it came to gay rights, but that this legislation along with other developments now made it one of the most progressive in terms of legal status.

He said he was hopeful this was the first step towards giving gay couples the same rights as married couples.

He is quite hopeful that there will be further progress in this area in the near future, he added.

The General Register Office has received 267 notices of intention to enter into a civil partnership to date.

Six ceremonies have taken place since 7 February by couples who obtained a special court exemption from the notice period. These couples asked for their ceremonies not to be publicised.

But today's ceremonies are the first to take place without a court exemption.