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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 55 / 161

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practices in question must be just; the second characterizes the “requisite voluntary acts” (p. 112).

It is perhaps this first part, the need for just institutions of practices, to which discrimination against gays and lesbians in American society conflicts. Current federal law related to discrimination does not include homosexuals as a protected class; federal laws do not list “sexual orientation” in employment discrimination policy. Furthermore, litigants have been widely unsuccessful in attempting to use federal legislation in support of a claim of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation (Yared, 1997).

The human rights system is constructed with the underpinning that it is the obligation and responsibility of the government to create fair conditions through which human rights laws can be practiced and realized; this provides every individual freedom from human rights violations from the government itself, or by others (Wetzell, 2001). Because of the lack of federally- designed legislation protecting homosexuals in the workplace, some employers have begun instituting such policies in procedural manuals and corporate guidelines. This practice could create fair institutions of practices; although the responsibility of the government serving as the institutions of practices would shift to the company, corporation, or employer, and thus, help to ensure fairness as related to the institutions of practices.

One more aspect of Rawls’ theory of social justice is pertinent: the principle of equality. Like fairness, equality

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