America's Most Captivating Couples 2012

photo by Martha Kennedy
Jo-Ann & Mary Jo
Brooklyn, NY
Jo-Ann, 58, medical editor at imc2,
a digital marketing company
Mary Jo, 56, family practice physician

Jo-Ann and Mary Jo met in 1981 in Los Angeles, though they both happened to be working at a hospital in the Bronx at the time—and their first date was in the hospital cafeteria. Before long, they knew they wanted to forge a life together. “In 1988, our daughter Aliya was born. Legal marriage was not something we felt was needed in our lives, since we were living ‘as if’ we were married for many years,” Jo-Ann recalls. That changed in 2004 when, at Aliya’s suggestion, they signed on as plaintiffs in Hernandez v. Robles, the New York lawsuit seeking marriage rights. After nearly seven years fighting for a legal victory, Mary Jo and Jo-Ann tied the knot on July 24, 2011, the first day of same-sex marriage in the state—and three decades after their first date. “We attribute our long relationship to many factors, not the least of which is humor, tolerance for each other’s failings, and most of all, a deep love and respect for one another,” they say.