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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 56 / 161

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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 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).

While some discussion of governmental failure to protect gays and lesbians from harm is in-contrast to Rawls’ theory as related to fairness, equality principles and definitional differences of Rawls’ theory to current American societal employment practices are also found. Rawls explains three application principle levels of equality. The levels are from most basic to complex, with the third level considering the role of morality (Rawls, 1971). But Rawls (1971) doesn’t define moral individuals as those who commit right and wrong, but rather those who have the potential to develop a “moral personality” and that it is these individuals who deserve the “equality of justice” (p. 506). Rawls clearly states “there is no race or recognized group of human beings that lacks this attribute” (Rawls. 1971, p. 506).

He later continues that “It is sometimes thought that basic rights and liberties should vary with capacity, but justice as fairness denies this: provided the minimum for moral personality is satisfied, a person is owed all the guarantees of justice” (p. 507). Thus, when applying Rawls’ theory to practice, one can state that gays and lesbians belong to a recognized group of

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