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Lesbian ethics advocates the creation and maintenance of community among lesbians, independent from male-defined social structures, policies, attitudes, and laws. Lesbian approaches to ethics are varied, not claiming to subscribe to a systematic set of rules, but rather supporting practices that enable women to break away from patriarchal dominance, including patriarchal ethical theories. Traditional Western ethical theory articulates rules by which men can live together, respecting one another’s rights and property, fulfilling duties that accompany particular social roles, and adhering, with some exceptions, to commonly shared norms such as honesty, protection of human life, and promise keeping. For centuries, these theories regarded women as property rather than as full human beings.

Lesbian ethicists recognize that widely accepted ethical theories support the status quo of structures that ...

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