Gay Irish Pol Back in Presidential Contention, Wins Nomination
An openly gay politician who withdrew from the Irish presidential race due to controversy only to throw his hat into the ring once more has sewn up the support he needs to put his name on the ballot.
David Norris, a popular 24-year member of the Irish senate and a James Joyce scholar, nearly saw his chances torpedoed earlier this year by a pair of scandals. One controversy arose when a journalist resurrected comments that Norris had made to her nine years ago about older men and younger male lovers, remarks that critics leapt on as proof that Norris supported pedophilia.
Norris made the comments in 2002 when he was speaking with restaurant critic Helen Lucy Burke. The interview was published in Magill Magazine. Burke was featured on a radio program earlier this year, where she played up the comments, in which Norris said that as a gay teen he might have benefited from the attention of an older gay man. Media headlines began to refer to the 2002 magazine story as the "pedophilia interview."
"I cannot understand how anybody could find children of either sex in the slightest bit attractive sexually," Norris told the Magill Magazine in 2002, "but in terms of classic pedophilia, as practiced by the Greeks, for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man to adult life, there can be something said for it. Now, again, this is not something that appeals to me.
"Although, when I was younger, I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, treating me with affection, teaching me about life," Norris added.
Anti-gay activists frequently smear the GLBT equality movement and its leaders with accusations that pro-equality advocates seek to promote incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other sexual deviance.
But Norris faced the firestorm, started by the restaurant critic, by stating bluntly that he "never endorsed pedophilia... never endorsed incest," and declared that implications to that effect were the "greatest insults" that could be hurled.
Burke, who said that she has been supportive of Norris’ efforts for GLBT equality in Ireland, stated that the politician should not become the next Irish president.