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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 113 / 161

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nondiscrimination policy in the workplace that protects gay men and lesbians from a much grander scope. This type of research design might also highlight important geographical differences in homophobia among nurses. Gay marriage was recently legalized in Massachusettes while Vermont has civil union laws granting many of the essential rights of marriage to gay couples; California has some extensive equality laws protective of gay men and lesbians in such areas as domestic partnership, mandatory benefits for same-sex couples at work, and nondiscrimination in employment (Segal Group, 2004). Florida, on the other hand, has no legislation which protects gay men and lesbians from workplace discrimination, lacks criminal enhancement penalties for homosexual victims of hate crimes, and outlaws any form of adoption by gay men or lesbians (Equality Florida, 2004).

Differences in these policies from state to state may cause speculation that overall homophobia levels and attitudes towards gays and lesbians at work vary by location of the country; research with a larger aggregate of nurses from various geographic boundaries could highlight diverse sociopolitical climates for gays and lesbians throughout the United States. In addition to national studies, future research could also cross international borders and explore differences in homophobia and attitudes towards a nondiscrimination policy in the workplace of various countries and contrast these beliefs with those of western populations similar to Lim’s (2002) research.

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