Joe Connolly joined with his now-husband, Terry Pochert, and several other plaintiff couples in filing a legal case in 2014 seeking the freedom to marry in Arizona. Now, even though same-sex couples have the freedom to marry across the country, Joe is still aware that explicit nondiscrimination laws remain elusive for many LGBTQ Americans.
Joe faced uncertainty himself when it came to his job – shortly after being named a lead plaintiff, he was worried he would be fired for being openly gay. Luckily, that didn’t happen and Joe’s employer was very supportive – but Joe knows this is not the case for everyone. “If my company didn’t approve of my love for my husband, I feared that my job offer could be revoked and that I could be immediately released as a contractor, with no legal recourse or protections,” he said. “Our future depended on this job, and I’ve always believed that people should be judged on the merit of their work – nothing less, nothing more. My boss told me that my job was safe and that everything was fine, but I know that’s not everyone’s story.”