Bioethics Blogs

Expanding The Moral Community: Why is it so hard?

Much of American history can be described as the struggle to
expand the moral community in which an increasing number of human beings are
seen as having basic rights under the constitution. We forget sometimes that
though the inclusion of all people was perhaps implied in our early documents,
as in “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal…” from the Declaration of Independence, it has taken historical time and
struggle to come closer to realizing that ideal. This struggle has been the
quest for recognition of more and more individuals not assumed initially to have
the right to vote and exercise control over their lives, which included African
Americans, women, minorities, and more recently the LGBT community. The growing
recognition of more and more individuals as being full fledged citizens has
been a slow, often painful, birthing process of freedom, in the sense of
unleashing human potential and possibilities, within the democratic process.


The recent uproar over the
Anti-LGBT law
passed in North Carolina is a reminder of how difficult it is
for many states and communities to accept and accommodate historically
marginalized people into the mainstream of society. This law was a quick
reaction by the right wing North Carolina legislature and governor to an
ordinance passed in Charlotte, similar to what other cities around the country
are doing, allowing transgender people to use restrooms according to their
gender identity. Perhaps this law also should be seen as a reaction to the
Supreme Court ruling in 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage, which has been
propelling society toward greater openness and acceptance of LGBT life styles,
integrating them into the mainstream.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.