Gay Irish Presidential Hopeful Claims Smear Campaign

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 12 2011 10:40 AM ET

Independent senator David Norris, a strong contender to become the first openly gay president of Ireland and in Europe, is threatened by the resurrection of an old interview in which he appears to express support for “classic pedophilia, as practiced by the Greeks.”

The Global Post reports on the controversy that Norris, an early favorite for the October election, calls the result of “a deliberate smear campaign.” This week, journalist Helen Lucy Burke unearthed an interview that the noted James Joyce scholar and broadcaster gave to Magill magazine in 2002 about his feelings on sex.

“Norris said in Magill that he did not find children sexually attractive ‘but in terms of classic pedophilia, as practiced by the Greeks, for example, where it is an elder man introducing a younger man to adult life, there can be something said for it,’” reports the Global Post.

Although polls indicate Norris was the frontrunner for the presidency, analysts believe it could be catastrophic for his name to be associated with the word “pedophilia.” He is competing against more than 12 candidates to replace President Mary McAleese.

“A champion of liberal causes in the Irish senate, Norris this week reiterated his condemnation of pedophilia and his abhorrence of any sexual contact with children, and claimed copies of the Magill article were being distributed around the country to discredit him,” reports the Global Post.