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Controversial Gay Candidate Pulls Ahead in Irish Presidential Race

Davidnorris Irish Senator David Norris was thought unpresidential after he was portrayed as a pederast. There were letters he wrote asking an Israeli court to grant clemency to an ex-partner accused of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy. And there was this quote attributed to him in an interview from 10 years ago:

I cannot understand how anybody could find children of either sex in the slightest bit attractive sexually ... but in terms of classic paedophilia, as practised 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 went on:

In my opinion, the teacher or Christian Brother who puts his hand into a boy's pocket during a history lesson, that is one end of the spectrum. But then there is another, there is the person who attacks children of either sex, rapes them, brutalises them, and then murders them. But the way things are presented here it's almost as if they were all exactly the same and I don't think they are. And I have to tell you this - I think that the children in some instances are more damaged by the condemnation than by the actual experience.

When the quotes resurfaced this year, Norris said they were taken out of the context of an intellectual discussion about the ancient Greeks. He had also requested corrections to the transcript before publication, he said, and challenged his interviewer to produce the recording. She said the tape had gone missing, but released purported diary entries showing that he had approved the transcript.

Norris dropped out of the presidential race, but then re-entered in early September. And now polls show him leading his opponents, including a former IRA commander. But Norris still needs two signatures from senate colleagues to officially become a nominee.

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Comments

  1. That interview would have finished him in the states. I'm really surprised he is still pursuing this. It is still shocking that he seems to be condoning child abuse, as we now know in civilized societies that children do not have the emotional maturity to give full consent. That is why they are protected.

    Posted by: perkins | Sep 25, 2011 4:55:46 PM


  2. I hope this pedo-lover loses. Disgusting.

    Posted by: Kane | Sep 25, 2011 6:25:26 PM


  3. nuance, people. it baffles the mind how you display so little of it.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Sep 25, 2011 6:40:01 PM


  4. He dropped out initially because of a letter he sent to an Israeli court in defence of his former lover who'd been convicted of underage sex with a 15 year old Palestinian boy. In the letter, he not only defended his ex (without mention of their intimate relationship), but he ignored the situation of the boy and also mentioned how he was a "person of some importance" in Ireland.

    Now that he has re-entered the race, it seems that there is some controversy as to how his supporters have been bullying other politicians to support Norris (he requires 20 signatures from members of parliament). What irks many is the sense of entitlement at play and claims that if you don't support him then you're being homophobic... for my part, democracy is also about the right to say "no". Some of your readers might like the link here to a leading lesbian blog:

    http://www.mamanpoulet.com/the-culture-of-entitlement-and-aras11/

    Posted by: SeanR | Sep 25, 2011 7:06:59 PM


  5. "In my opinion, the teacher or Christian Brother who puts his hand into a boy's pocket during a history lesson, that is one end of the spectrum."

    Yeesh.

    Yes, it is one end of a spectrum, but it's still a spectrum encompassing child molestation and sexual assault. There is no maneuvering beyond that.

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 25, 2011 7:16:07 PM


  6. Has he completely repudiated these remarks? That's the quickest way of affirming he was indeed taken out of context. Because the prima facie case here is of a politician condoning sexual assault.

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 25, 2011 7:20:21 PM


  7. Senator Norris:

    Your comments about boys and 'older' men are incredibly embarrassing to any decent gay or bi man. Speaking for myself, I would NEVER sexually assault or engage in even a consenting sexual relationship with an under-age boy. As for sexual attraction to children [pre-adolescent] by adult men or even teenage boys, that is repulsive. I don't know what causes a man to be sexually attracted to children, but it is a serious psychological disorder that causes a lot of real pain and suffering for those abused, most never 'get over it'. And gay men are infamously stigmatized and stereotyped as 'pedophiles' and sexual deviants. Your comments are beyond the pale, and should be STRONGLY condemned by Irish gay organizations. They should also withdraw any support they have given you.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 25, 2011 8:10:02 PM


  8. Dr. Norris has lived up to his arrogant reputation. It would seem that the many good things he has contributed to the gay movement in Ireland will now be forgotten amidst this controversy - which was entirely unnecessary.

    Posted by: caoimhin | Sep 25, 2011 8:42:02 PM


  9. What is the age of sexual consent in Ireland? Is it equal to the age of suffrage? Is the boy involved straight? How does he feel about it now, (presumably) years later after the fact? Also, presumably, the boy is Christian and so has, presumably, inherited his culture's prejudices. Which brings us to Dr. Norris' presumptuous stupidity that so wonderful an extinct system as Greek pederasty would still sit with any degree of comfort at all with a culture (Christian "democracy") based on a religion whose divinities do not engage in any kind of sexual activity whatsoever, gay or straight.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Sep 26, 2011 2:08:41 AM


  10. This is disgusting. Gay or not, talking longingly about sex with kids is nasty and unacceptable.

    I also have intellectual discussions all the time. None of them involve me attempting to reduce the seriousness of pedophilia.

    No sane Irishman should vote for this guy. There are better candidates out there, I'm sure.

    Posted by: Jake Orlando | Sep 26, 2011 4:03:14 AM


  11. I approached a 50 year old man when I was 15. I knew what I wanted and what I was getting into. So there's that.

    Posted by: Aaron | Sep 26, 2011 9:51:18 AM


  12. "I approached a 50 year old man when I was 15. I knew what I wanted and what I was getting into. So there's that."

    There's what?

    A 50 year old man should not enter into a sexual relationship with a 15 year old, regardless of whether the 15 year old feels they are emotionally ready for it.

    I know this argument is pervasive, but there is no moral justification for an older man entering into a sexual relationship with a minor, because the older man simply cannot deduce whether the minor is sexually mature enough.

    And that's not even getting the disturbing fetishization of youth that's no doubt occurring in that relationship.

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 26, 2011 10:26:00 AM


  13. i find nothing wrong with debating the merits/risks of the pederasty of socrates, plato, aristotle, etc. some of the greatest minds of philosophy seemed to have engaged in this behavior.

    also, 15 is post-pubescent, for whatever that's worth.

    Posted by: brian | Sep 26, 2011 11:43:21 AM


  14. "i find nothing wrong with debating the merits/risks of the pederasty of socrates, plato, aristotle, etc. some of the greatest minds of philosophy seemed to have engaged in this behavior."

    You actually haven't read Plato or Aristotle have you?

    In any event, while pederasty is being championed because you think 'great minds' indulged in it, why not champion the gender inequality and slavery of ancient Greece as well?

    "also, 15 is post-pubescent, for whatever that's worth."

    Not for everyone, it's not. People don't undergo puberty at the same age.

    Also, there is considerable difference between being post-pubescent and being emotionally mature enough to engage in sexual relations.

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 26, 2011 12:53:22 PM


  15. "You actually haven't read Plato or Aristotle have you?"

    Of course. How else would I know about the culture they espoused?

    "There is considerable difference between being post-pubescent and being emotionally mature enough to engage in sexual relations."

    That's a contrived and narrow-minded approach to sexuality. And certainly lacking any context of tens of thousands of years of human sexuality.

    I suggest reading some Michel Foucault to help rid yourself of your Victorian-era understanding of sexuality.

    Posted by: brian | Sep 26, 2011 1:14:43 PM


  16. "There is considerable difference between being post-pubescent and being emotionally mature enough to engage in sexual relations."

    "That's a contrived and narrow-minded approach to sexuality. And certainly lacking any context of tens of thousands of years of human sexuality."

    Actually, it's the complete opposite of a contrived and narrow-minded approach to sexuality. A contrived and narrow-minded approach would be one that presupposed that pubescence is the only worthwhile signifier of when someone should engage in sexual relations.

    "I suggest reading some Michel Foucault to help rid yourself of your Victorian-era understanding of sexuality."

    I suggest you read someone with actual professional qualifications related to developmental psychology and human sexuality.

    And if having an instinctive wariness of a teacher fondling his student is a Victorian notion, then it's one I'm glad we've adhered to.

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 26, 2011 1:25:54 PM


  17. "Of course. How else would I know about the culture they espoused?"

    Again, are you also championing slavery and misogyny as well, to go along with molestation?

    Posted by: Nat | Sep 26, 2011 1:29:06 PM


  18. Nat: I assure you everything between us was fine. I know this because I was there.

    How many people have you ever heard say that when they lost their virginity in high school they were "emotionally ready" for it? I don't even really know what that means.

    Posted by: Aaron | Sep 26, 2011 1:33:01 PM


  19. Maybe so Aaron, but that is not always or even usually the case.

    Posted by: Paschal | Sep 26, 2011 2:56:26 PM


  20. The fervent condemnation of adult/teen sex on display here is all well and good, if your goal is to be as closed-minded, judgmental, and prudish as those who would put you in jail.

    Adult/teen attraction is hardly new. It was the widely practiced tradition throughout much of history, except that the teen was a female. That doesn't, of course, mean it is acceptable today, but it does mean that it isn't the abomination so many want to pretend that it is.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 26, 2011 3:42:12 PM


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