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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 118 / 161

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from human rights violations from the government itself, or by others (Wetzell, 2001). Although a lack of federally-designed legislation protecting homosexuals in the workplace has served as the impetus for employers to begin such policies in procedural manuals and corporate guidelines, perhaps the most salient point Rawls makes in his writings is that ultimately, the government is responsible for such protections. This helps to drive public policy drafting and supports a national policy that ensures gay and lesbian nurses are protected from discrimination in their places of employment.

The model in which a corporate entity creates such policy defines the corporation as the institutions of practices, which may not represent the true meaning of Rawls’ Theory of Social Justice as it pertains to fairness. One more aspect of Rawls’ theory of social justice is pertinent: the principle of equality. Like fairness, equality falls into the category of poorly-defined vocabulary in how it relates to the gay civil rights movement as many describe the impact and definition of equality differently. Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (1971) defines equality as those features of human beings in virtue of which they are to be treated (Rawls, 1971). These features are to be treated in accordance with what Rawls believes are the principles of justice (Rawls, 1971).

In addition to discussion of governmental failure to protect gays and lesbians from harm as contrast to Rawls’ theory as related to fairness, equality principles and definitional differences of Rawls’ theory to current American societal

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