CHARLOTTE & VALERIE
Charlotte, 42, NYPD police officer
Valerie, 48, hairdresser
On their first date in 2001, Valerie told Charlotte she was going to marry her. When you know, you know! Ten years later on their anniversary, Valerie proposed and they were quietly married in Connecticut, since it wasn´t yet legal in New York. The two attribute their longtime success to strong, shared moral values, and the belief that you don´t just walk away when problems arise. "It´s easier to run, but to stay and fight for someone you love is much more satisfying," they concur. And that´s not just lip service: "Our biggest challenge came when we realized I wanted to have children and Valerie didn´t," Charlotte explains. "We almost split up because I always knew I wanted a family. Valerie was very free-spirited and it was never something she desired. After some serious soul-searching, Valerie told me her love for me outweighed anything else and if that meant having kids, she would learn to love it. Since then, she´s become the best parent anyone could ever ask for!" On May 19, 2013, after New York legalized gay marriage, the couple invited 150 of their closest friends and family upstate to watch them exchange vows. "We wanted to create a beautiful memory," Charlotte says. "And a sense of validity for our amazing, beautiful twin daughters, Eva and Etta, who happened to be the cutest flower girls around."