Minister ready to amend Equality Law

Miguela Xuereb

Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that he is ready to discuss with stakeholders to effect changes in the proposed drafts of the Equality law. The Minister of Justice is prepared to amend the articles that will make the Equality Law supreme to any other law. He is ready to discuss more with Church schools so that the law would not be considered to be a danger to their ethos. But the Minister is adamant that he will not introduce a conscientious objection clause.

Zammit Lewis was participating in a discussion on PN MP Karl Gouder participated in the discussion which was moderated by Fr Joe Borg.

PN MP Karl Gouder said that the PN is four-square behind the idea of eliminating discrimination but added that the party was in favour of the elimination of the supremacy clause. Moreover, the party was in favour of the removal of clauses which would endanger the ethos of Church schools.

Supremacy clause is problematic

Minister Zammit Lewis said that he is ready to keep on discussing with NGOs and professional bodies to amend the supremacy clause. However, he strongly denied that the law as is would pave the way to the introduction of abortion and euthanasia. He added that there were other laws which made a reference to conscientious objection but such a proviso had no place in an Equality Law.

When confronted by the harsh criticism of many professional bodies as well as of Chief Justice Emeritus Vincent De Gaetano, the Minister said that he does not agree with them. He added that “judges do not always get it right”, to which the presenter quipped: “neither do politicians.”

Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ intervened during the programme saying that the proposed legislation would threaten the ethos of Church schools and would bring to nought parents’ right to decide about the education of their children. He said that it was essential that Church schools could choose administrators and teachers who would promote the ethos of these schools.

The PN MP Karl Gouder agreed with this position.

Zammit Lewis said that he is ready to discuss with Church schools in an attempt to find a solution.