Commonwealth Equality No More?

Marion Leary
3 min readOct 27, 2020

I keep trying to put impactful words to paper, to somehow express what the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court means to me and my family — in a time when nothing makes sense, the cogent words just won’t come — but I’ll do it anyway, because it needs to be said, and it needs to be heard — cogent or not.

Watching in abject horror the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court last night was like a weight pressing deeper on my chest, and the chest of every American who values healthcare, corruption-free elections, the right to choose, and the ability to marry the person they love (to name just a pressing few).

For the LGBTQ community it has been a little over 5 years since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal, and in that time all were happy and gay — feeling the faintest bit like equal citizens of the country we call home. But alas, with the election of Donald Trump as President, that was not to last, and so here we are once again on the verge of losing that right, and many more. Rights we should not have to fight for, but be sure, we will!

My family (July 2013); My kid with Scout the Dog (August 2013) #CommonwealthEquality

Seven years ago I started a social media campaign in Pennsylvania focused on bringing awareness to the fight for marriage equality, called Commonwealth Equality. People from around the commonwealth uploaded images and statements on a pre-designed template declaring what marriage equality would mean to them, their friends, and their loved ones. Over the past couple of weeks I have been looking back at those photos, over 200 of them, collected between July 11, 2013, when I started the campaign, and May 20, 2014, when the ban on gay marriage was struck down in Pennsylvania. Those images and their words bring me joy and hope, a reason to keep fighting, but also anger and sadness — for what could be coming.

Commitment Ceremony (Oct 4, 2003); Legally married 10 years to the day, with our kid by our side (Oct 4, 2013)

For those who would call me an alarmist, just a few weeks ago, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito began calling on the Supreme Court to reconsider the Obergefell case which gave same-sex couples in the US the right to marry. Since that historic decision took place on June 26, 2015 over 300,000 same-sex couples have been married — and for those who only care about the economic impact of such decisions, over 3.8 Billion dollars has been generated from those weddings and 45,000 jobs!

As for my family, we were of course elated to finally be “given” the right to marry, but “rights” can be taken away. So here we are again, having to fear that a conservative majority in the Supreme Court will do just that.

A few weeks ago, our kid, now 15 years old, ask what was going to happen to our family when Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed? I guess we will find out soon enough, though I suspect we already know. And when that times comes, I will be back at it again, along with other activists, fighting for all of the rights that this country should be providing to all of its citizens, regardless of a corrupt (not long for this world) majority. In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, vote! Vote like your life depends on it, because ours certainly do.



Marion Leary

Science geek. Passionate abt Philly, resuscitation, social media, scicomm, innovation, art, & helping others.