It's a word tossed about by a lot of folks on both ends of the political spectrum, but sincerely understood by a relative few.
Merriam-Webster defines it as:
Equality (noun): the quality or state of being equal
And with today's vote by the Massachusetts legislature to strike down a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the liberal "side" of the Massachusetts blogosphere is (with the predictability of high tide) holding this up as evidence of Massachusetts' courageous commitment to equality for all its citizens.
It just depends on your definition of "all", I suppose.
Eeka, blogging at Universal Hub, says:
I'm so proud to live in a state where equal rights are valued.
"Equal" rights? Hardly.
Oh, the politcally-correct ones? Sure.
The day a poor, black, single mom in Dorchester can exercise and enjoy the same right to self defense as a rich, politically-connected denizen of Beacon Hill is the day I'll lend some credence to your words.
Until then, they're but hollow platitudes of the Massachusetts Leftist persuasion.
Try, "I'm so proud to live in a state where leftist ideology and politically-correct viewpoints are valued".
Yeah, that fits.
Case in point #2, from the Great Bloviator of Hyannisport:
"The nation’s eyes were on Massachusetts today, and they saw a triumph for civil rights and fundamental fairness.
Unless you're of the belief that all persons should be afforded their Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, regardless of one's income or social status.
Today's historic vote will have a national impact on civil rights for years to come. Massachusetts has led the nation in education, in health care...
Actually Massachusetts recently came in 8th place in a study that rated each of the 50 states on "measures that included quality of care, access to care, avoidable hospitalizations, costs, and avoidable deaths", behind New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, five New England states that haven't passed any over-bearing and intrusive laws requiring their residents to purchase health insurance, in many instances, against their will.
Yeah, that could've been a separate post, but, oh well.
...and in biotechnology, and today Massachusetts renewed its commitment as a proud leader in civil rights."
Constitutional rights? Not so much.
Meanwhile, Louise Outler, from Jamaica Plain (Boston, MA) gives us one of the more concise paragraphs I've ever come across on this subject, without driving into the deep end of the Olympic-sized Swimming Pool of Left-Wing Hypocrisy.
From her letter to the editor of the Boston Globe:
Marriage is a civil contract, which incidentally may also be a religiously based compact. A couple can be legally married by a civil authority anywhere in the country without the blessing of any religious entity, but no couple can marry legally in a church without licensure by the civic body. There is no rational argument to allow a particular class of citizens to enter into only some civil contracts while being excluded from others.
That's been my argument from Day 0.
Marriage, in the eyes of the State, is but a contract entered into by two people seeking to gain the socio-economic benefits provided them by a civil marriage and the State, the grantor of said benefits.
The State cares not whether a couple has plans on procreating or not. Anyone who would make the argument that such plans are any of the government's business needs to have the lump of gray matter between their ears examined.
Further, the State cares not in which faith a couple plans to raise their children, or in which church, temple, or mosque they might plan on having their marriage blessed. Again, nor should they.
Heck, the State doesn't even care if two people even love each other.
None of that is a prerequisite for being granted a license to marry.
Oh, just one thing.
They do want their marriage license fee, paid up front.
On that matter they care quite dearly.