Joey and Laurie Eccleston, along with their son Connor, are longtime residents of Layton, UT, and when Connor was 15, he came out to his parents as gay. Joey and Laurie were supportive and loving, but they had a very real fear that they might not be able to protect Connor from the intolerance and ignorance of others. During testimony at the Utah state house in support of employment and housing protections for LGBTQ people, Joey reveled that Connor had asked if he had his parents’ blessing to go out of state for college, knowing that at the time his basic freedoms and dignity were not guaranteed because of the state’s lack of nondiscrimination protections.
“Some people have sought to define Connor simply by his orientation, which should be a footnote in the story of his accomplishments and aspirations,” Joey testified. “We want our child to grow up with the same opportunities for a robust life that his friends have grown up with.”