History is a whim for first legal gay couple

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

A Windsor Terrace pair entered the annals of history by becoming the first gay couple to legally wed in Brooklyn — but, to them, getting hitched was never a priority.

In fact, Sunday’s visit to the City Clerk’s office on Joralemon Street was done on a lark, they said.

“We really had no desire to get married,” Bobby Amagna, 65, explained as he fanned Michael Furey, his partner of 18 years. “But since it’s here and the state is approving it, why not do it?”

Furey, 63, agreed, shrugging his shoulders.

“It’s a blasé attitude, but that’s the way we are,” he said.

No, they weren’t exactly bubbling over with joy — especially when you compare them to all of the same-sex couples decked out in tuxedoes and white dresses, giddily waiting their turn to get a marriage license.

Yet Amagna and Furey were one of the first couples found camped out outside the building when the doors opened. The duo, both dressed in white, arrived on Joralemon Street at 5:30 am.

But they weren’t the first on line: Park Slopers Barbara Pilgrim and Geraldine Whitsett were the first two to step into the clerk’s office — realizing a dream 48 years past due.

Pilgrim, 82, met her 76-year-old beloved in 1963 — six years before the Stonewall riots sparked the gay rights movement and just two years after Illinois took the bold step of becoming the first state in the nation to decriminalize homosexual activity between two consenting adults.

The two, also dressed in white, had gotten to the clerk’s office moments before Amagna and Furey did.

“I’ve been proposing to Barbara for years,” Whitsett said. “We thought about getting married in another state, but I would always say, ‘Let’s wait and see what happens here.’ Now it it’s here and I have butterflies in my stomach.”

A paperwork snafu ruined their plans of becoming Brooklyn’s first wedded same-sex couple. As bureaucrats corrected the problem, Amagna and Furey skipped ahead, getting to Supreme Court Justice Ellen Spodek first for a brief ceremony in the nondescript nondenominational chapel.

Amagna and Furey left the office as quietly as they entered, planning to celebrate their nuptials privately at a nice restaurant.

“We may have something with more people in a couple of weeks,” said Amagna. “This whole thing was done on impulse.”

Their story was built on similar impulses: The two met in 1993 when Furey was invited to Amagna’s birthday party.

“My friend invited him and our eyes locked and that was it,” Amagna said, recalling the moment they met.

Furey remembered the day a bit differently, however. He was Amagna’s birthday present, he joked.

“You know how hard it is to get stuffed in a box?” he asked.

The two have been inseparable ever since, sharing a special connection that nothing — not even a marriage license — can change.

“As long as we get along, I’m happy,” Amagna said.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.