Defying religious zealots who say homosexuality is unnatural and restricted only to deviant humans, a couple of penguins at an aquarium in Kerry, Ireland, have formed a pair.

Although Missy and Penelope have been friends ‘for a couple of years,’ they only began exhibiting courting behaviour with one another recently; they are likely to go on to form a lifelong bond.

Same-sex couples among penguins are not uncommon, although Dingle Oceanworld’s head penguin keeper Kate Hall said that it is unusual for two females to form a pair, as opposed to two males.

‘The thing penguins do to show they like each other is they bow to each other and they are doing that,’ she said. ‘When they come into breeding season, they do it to the penguin of their choice and it reinforces the bond between them.

‘They are also bringing each other pebbles. One will guard the nest while the other one will look around for nice stones and bring them back. Then they’ll bow to each other again. It is very sweet to watch.’

Other gay penguin couples have achieved worldwide fame, including Roy and Silo in New York’s Central Park Zoo, while an aquarium in China threw a lavish wedding for their same-sex penguin couple back in 2009. Last year in Spain, two male penguins adopted a chick of their own after nesting together for six years.