First gay Filipino in historic ‘I do’

Dennis (left) and Daniel

By Cristina DC Pastor

Three days.

That’s how little time Dennis Josue, 50, and Daniel Mackey, 53, had preparing for their wedding. For some brides it’s not enough time to find the right pair of shoes.

Dennis, who owns Fantasia Floral Design on the Upper East Side, and Daniel, a retired police officer who now works at Homeland Security, learned on July 21 they made the wedding lottery for same-sex couples. On July 24, they were among the 50 couples in Manhattan waiting to tie the knot.

“This is history,” said Dennis, his voice choked up, in a phone interview with The FilAm. He could be, he said, the first Filipino American to get married under New York State’s Marriage Equality Act.

The pair who became seriously involved three years ago was actually planning on getting married next year. But while reading the newspapers and learning that New York was holding a wedding lottery for couples, Dennis muttered to himself, ‘What the heck’ and filed an application online.

While having dinner with Daniel and his sister, Dennis got a call with the good news. He shrieked, pounded on the dinner table, and announced to Daniel: They were getting married! The unknowing boyfriend went from stunned to ecstatic.

“He started laughing,” recalled Dennis, “and said, ‘Oh, we have to do it.’”

They put on their best dark suits with matching lilac shirts and ties and joined some 50 couples who snaked around the city clerk’s office building on Center and Worth streets waiting for their numbers. It was 7:15 a.m.

“Everybody was congratulating each other, friendly, and emotional. It was a nice occasion,” said Dennis. The couple’s witnesses were Dennis’ brother and his partner. “It was lot of people.” About 2,600 couples applied for the lottery, he said, with 823 couple getting accepted.

The clerk’s office opened at 8:30 a.m. The couples were given ticket numbers. While waiting, they filled out an application form before a clerk. They were ushered in to another room to wait for a judge.

Number 680 was called. Dennis and Daniel found themselves in front of Judge Neil Ross of the Supreme Court.

“There were a lot of judges who volunteered that day,” said Dennis. “No one was assigned to you, you get whoever was available. Judge Ross was the nicest judge ever.”

They settled on the traditional “till death do us part” vows. To Dennis, two words from Judge Ross resonated: “solemn” and “happy.” “He said this is a solemn occasion because this is a contract between two people, and a happy one because it is a joyous occasion. Very true.”

The ceremony was over in 15 minutes. The party of four proceeded to Casa Espanola on Carmine Street where about 20 of the couple’s friends and family joined them in an intimate reception.

“My sister, who is a devout Catholic, said, ‘I love you and you’re my brother. If this will make you happy, I’m happy for you,’” said Dennis. “We were so happy, more than happy.”

A bigger reception in October is in the works for the couple’s friends and family who could not make the impromptu wedding. There will be a re-enactment of the City Hall rites, and this time the couple will come appropriately dressed: A ‘barong’ for Dennis, and the Irish kilt for Daniel.

Balitang America is reporting that another “lucky couple is number 690 – FilAm Charles Ignacio and his boyfriend John Catania. After waiting in line for over two hours, the couple got their marriage license and was wed immediately.”

Cristina DC Pastor is the founding editor of The FilAm.



8 Comments

  1. Benjamin Medina wrote:

    Can’t believe you guys did this without me!!!! You bastards!!! Congratulations!!!! I’m so proud of you both and my match making skills!!!!

  2. Daniel Emig wrote:

    I’m a big fan of your website. You have such a wealth of interesting stories, especially of same-sex Filipinos.

  3. Alan Miles wrote:

    So nice to see this story! We got married at almost the same time (plus my step-father is Filipino!)

    Pics at http://jackgruber.com/twenty-hour-wedding-dash/

  4. Cristina wrote:

    Congratulations Drew and Alan. What a nice story. Thanks for sharing, Jack.

  5. Marissa wrote:

    So happy for Dennis and Dan! May you be blessed with many many years of wedded bliss and surrounded by all the love you deserve!
    Congratulations! :)

  6. […] “If you don’t change the water, bacteria will seep in and your flowers will rot quickly,” he explained the tedious process. He has four to five people working with him, including his brother Edwin and husband Dan. […]

  7. […] was never a tangled Christmas tree light in the many years – since 1998 – that florist Dennis Josue had been decorating the Harlem home of Maya […]

  8. Zachary H. wrote:

    Great Website. Really enjoyed reading.

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