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Braybuddy
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A Gay President For Ireland?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:42 pm

After a long struggle, Senator David Norris has finally managed to get his name on the ballot paper for the Irish presidential election next month. The role is mainly ceremonial, but hugely symbolic, so having an openly gay man elected to the office of President of Ireland woujld be enormously significant -- and a strong possibility -- as he consistently tops all the opinion polls.

For nearly forty years Senator Norris has been a campaigner for gay rights, among other things, and was instrumental in decriminalizing homosexuality in Ireland, firstly by (unsuccessfully) challenging the Victorian laws in the courts, and then by dragging the country kicking and screaming into the 20th century via the European Court of Human Rights. Ever optimistic and positive in his campaigning, he often uses humour to get his point across, which seems to work to his advantage.

While people may wonder if a person's sexuality matters in such an election, it DOES matter, in the sense that having elected a woman to the office twenty years ago (and following her with another women) was the final blow for women's rights in the country, this would be a final blow for gay rights, electing an openly gay man to the highest office in the land.

It will be a colourful, if bizarre, contest, with the candidates, apart from Norris, consisting of a former chief of staff of the IRA, a Eurovision winner and an intellectual poet, among others.

Roll on 27 October, and good luck to Senaor Norris. !f anyone ever deserved this post, it is him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Norris_(politician)

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y193/Braybuddy/Norris.jpg
 
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HELyes
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:15 pm

Great, I hope he makes it!

Quoting Braybuddy (Thread starter):
While people may wonder if a person's sexuality matters in such an election, it DOES matter, in the sense that having elected a woman to the office twenty years ago (and following her with another women) was the final blow for women's rights in the country, this would be a final blow for gay rights, electing an openly gay man to the highest office in the land.

  

When our current president was campaigning for the first time in the 2000 election, some tried to use her history in the gay politics against her, without any succees. She also was Finland's first female president. She will leave the office next spring, after two full terms.
 
Klaus
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:42 pm

Excellent news! Congratulations to good progress being made in any case!  

Resolutely holding the Vatican's feet to the fire about the abuse scandals was also quite impressive given what one might have had expected from Ireland with its catholic history.

In related news:

The openly gay mayor of Berlin has just won re-election for a third term (with his partner sharing the stage at the winning party and getting proper thanks) and is expected to play an increased role in determining the next social democratic candidate for chancellor in the next federal election (some people even named him as a possible contender himself, but that may still be a bit too early).

Meanwhile, our gay foreign minister (econo-liberal FDP) is effectively on his way out of office again with mainly the "when" still uncertain, but primarily due to his party being on the verge of disintegration after multiple crushing defeats in state elections for failing to respond to the financial crises in any credible way.

It's certainly not all smooth sailing (particularly with the dwindling number of older, conservative people), but people's orientation is just less and less of an issue relative to their actual competence as politicians, as it should be.
 
N1120A
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:55 pm

Senator Norris belongs up there in the pantheon of great, ceiling-breaking Irish with Mary Robinson.
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Braybuddy
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:53 am

Quoting HELyes (Reply 1):
When our current president was campaigning for the first time in the 2000 election, some tried to use her history in the gay politics against her, without any success.

The dirty tricks department are already out in full force, and have been since the day after Senator Norris topped the first opinion poll by a mile. Unfortunately it's not his involvement in gay politics that is the issue, but his 17-year-old letters seeking clemency for a former lover, who was convicted in Israel of "statutory rape" of a 15-year-old. The man claims the sex was consensual and that he was unaware of the 15-year-old's age. Not an excuse if it's against the law, but as others have pointed out, if it had happened in Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal or Italy -- including the Vatican -- that it wouldn't have been a crime.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
The openly gay mayor of Berlin has just won re-election for a third term (with his partner sharing the stage at the winning party and getting proper thanks) and is expected to play an increased role in determining the next social democratic candidate for chancellor in the next federal election (some people even named him as a possible contender himself, but that may still be a bit too early).

Berlin may not be the world's most attractive capital, unfortunately, but it is an amazing city and I love its attitude and ambiance, and this is the sort of thing which makes it great. It would be fantastic if he were to put his name forward for chancellor. Never try, never gain.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
Senator Norris belongs up there in the pantheon of great, ceiling-breaking Irish with Mary Robinson.

For sure. Unfortunately I won't be around to see it, but a hundred years from now there will be -- like that other great gay Irishman, Oscar Wilde -- a statue to the man in some quiet corner of the capital.
 
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OA260
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:14 am

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 4):
Unfortunately it's not his involvement in gay politics that is the issue, but his 17-year-old letters seeking clemency for a former lover, who was convicted in Israel of "statutory rape" of a 15-year-old. The man claims the sex was consensual and that he was unaware of the 15-year-old's age

And thats my issue which I can't get past ! I really don't feel comfortable with that and up until then I had great respect for him and found him quite likeable.

To be honest he is the best out of a bad lot. Dana NO WAY !! Martin McGuinness ( Not appropriate at all ) . Whilst I like Martin McGuinness for other things including support Gay rights in Northern Ireland I couldn't promote him as president.

I think we will miss Mary McAleese people will not know what she achieved until she is gone and she will be sorely missed. She has helped heal alot of wounds North and South and tried to bridge communities.
 
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aerdingus
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:52 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
And thats my issue which I can't get past ! I really don't feel comfortable with that and up until then I had great respect for him and found him quite likeable.

Same here. I was gutted when I found that out.

Although lately his voice is beginning to grate on me & the sight of his big gnashers hiding behind his beard in every paper is starting to drive me nuts.

I would like to say his sexuality was of no big deal to me, but I suppose I could say it's definitely showing that Ireland is maybe starting to open it's mind, finally.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
I think we will miss Mary McAleese people will not know what she achieved until she is gone and she will be sorely missed. She has helped heal alot of wounds North and South and tried to bridge communities.

Absolutely. I can't imagine anyone else being President! I will forever associate her with bringing Ireland & the UK closer, because of the Queen's wonderful visit earlier this year.

Also.....please not Dana....imagine her little girls voice greeting dignitaries...
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kingsford
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:10 pm

And get ready for the first gay Prime Minister in Belgium, where we are finally getting a government in about two weeks if all goes right (This after 600+ days, an absolute world record). Being gay in Belgium is no big deal (Marriage, adoption, all is ok) so this will not be an issue but worth mentioning. Get ready rest of the world, we are taking over to rule the rest of you! Mwoahahahahahahah!
 
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:24 pm

Good luck to Senator Norris! I haven't followed his career, but his achievements listed above are remarkable, and it sounds like he's got quite a personality as well.
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sw733
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:23 pm

Quoting HELyes (Reply 1):
Great, I hope he makes it!

See this bothers me as someone interested in politics. I fully support a gay candidate just like I fully support any candidate no matter what their race, sexuality, religion, whatever may be. However, I only support them if they are the BEST candidate. I disagree with voting for a gay person just because they are gay, or a woman just because it's a woman. It may be fantastic to have a gay president, but only if they will actually be a good president.

He sounds very qualified, and there is a very good chance he might be the best candidate for the job. I just hope people don't vote for him simply because he is gay.
 
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:58 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
To be honest he is the best out of a bad lot. Dana NO WAY !! Martin McGuinness ( Not appropriate at all ) . Whilst I like Martin McGuinness for other things including support Gay rights in Northern Ireland I couldn't promote him as president.

Funny you should mention Martin McGuinness; I was talking to someone who would be regarded as part of the Irish "religious right" and was amazed to see that some of them would regard MMcG as preferable to David Norris. It's amazing when you think about it; being engaged in a 30 year campaign of terror and directly or indirectly implicated in a large number of murders ... preferable to a gay man; it gives you some insight into the mentality of some on the right.

I'm not comfortable about the issues relating to the letters, but one thing I am sure about is that the "religious right" will be throwing everything they have into this, to stop DN becoming president. The Church will support this, but not directly or publicly, so be prepared for a very interesting few weeks ahead. There is a great deal of intense homophobia and it would not surprise me if some engaged in "direct" action against him. I see this as a major battle between "old Ireland" and "new Ireland".

As for my own personal view, I tended to lean towards Michael D; I think he was a pretty weak politician, but respected and cultured; I think he has the qualities necessary to be a good president, but I really do think that the momentum is behind DN and the more the religious right attacks him or attempts to smear or undermine him, the more vociferous the groundswell in his favour will be.
 
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:08 pm

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 6):
Also.....please not Dana....imagine her little girls voice greeting dignitaries...

Little girl's voice eh...I take it you won't be voting for Michael D. so either?   
 
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aerdingus
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:40 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 11):
Little girl's voice eh...I take it you won't be voting for Michael D. so either?   

Ha! I actually haven't heard him speak, must tune in some time!   
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auntie
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:02 pm

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 12):
I actually haven't heard him speak

Really?? You have never heard him speak?  Wow!
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http://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelD...1?blend=9&ob=5#p/a/u/0/iEA2PnLvAR4



You obviously never tune into Gift Grub on Today FM so, they do a great Michael D !!!
 
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aerdingus
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:39 pm

Quoting auntie (Reply 13):
Really?? You have never heard him speak?  

Nope! This Presidency campaign has turned into such a circus, I just tend to run away from the coverage.

Quoting auntie (Reply 13):
http://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelD...1?blend=9&ob=5#p/a/u/0/iEA2PnLvAR4


Bahahaha, he sounds like a lovely old lady!   
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OA260
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:56 pm

Quoting kaitak (Reply 10):
Funny you should mention Martin McGuinness; I was talking to someone who would be regarded as part of the Irish "religious right" and was amazed to see that some of them would regard MMcG as preferable to David Norris. It's amazing when you think about it; being engaged in a 30 year campaign of terror and directly or indirectly implicated in a large number of murders ... preferable to a gay man; it gives you some insight into the mentality of some on the right.

Well they are warped themselves as Sinn Fein are pro Gay rights LOL.... When the Gay Pride march was being shunned and banned by the Unionist/Protestant communities Sinn Fein supported them gathering in West Belfast.

Rihanna experienced the God fearing Farmers in Bangor , Co.Down only this week lol...  
 
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:11 am

Quoting sw733 (Reply 9):
See this bothers me as someone interested in politics. I fully support a gay candidate just like I fully support any candidate no matter what their race, sexuality, religion, whatever may be. However, I only support them if they are the BEST candidate.

Absolutely. The problem is that up until recently his openness about his sexuality might have prohibited him a candidate at all - and in many countries still might.

In societal terms, the great achievement is that he can be a candidate at all.

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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:19 am

People used to ask me how I could be gay and Jewish.

Later other would ask how I could be gay and a rabbi.

Later folks would wonder if my congregation was ok with me being gay.

Now, no one cares. We've come a long way (or perhaps I live in a bubble).

Some day, no one will ask "Is so-and-so" gay. And no one will care!
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:05 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
And thats my issue which I can't get past !
Quoting aerdingus (Reply 6):
Same here. I was gutted when I found that out.

The letters are are going to be a big problem for him, and will continue to dog him throughout the campaign unless he clears the matter up once and for all. I'd find it hard to believe that they would differ much from the one already released, but it does look as if he's trying to keep something under wraps. It looks bad. He'd be better publishing them and hoping the controversy will disappear. As for the letters themselves, they are only letters. He did nothing illegal. He was asked to write a character reference for his friend and former lover. Honestly, who among us would not do the same in similar circumstances, whatever the crime? He didn't commit the offence, or ANY offence, apart from making the mistake of writing them on Senate notepaper.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 9):
See this bothers me as someone interested in politics. I fully support a gay candidate just like I fully support any candidate no matter what their race, sexuality, religion, whatever may be. However, I only support them if they are the BEST candidate. I disagree with voting for a gay person just because they are gay, or a woman just because it's a woman. It may be fantastic to have a gay president, but only if they will actually be a good president.

He sounds very qualified, and there is a very good chance he might be the best candidate for the job. I just hope people don't vote for him simply because he is gay

You're right, of course, but he is more than qualified to fill the role of president, given his academic background and his interests in numerous aspects of Irish culture and background in Trinity College. He is also a great orator and can be passionate about his beliefs, which is why he consistently tops ALL the opinion polls. Which is more than can be said for the other candidates.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 8):
Good luck to Senator Norris! I haven't followed his career, but his achievements listed above are remarkable, and it sounds like he's got quite a personality as well.

For sure! Again one of the reasons for his popularity over the years. He's a wonderful raconteur and popular guest on chat shows.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
Dana NO WAY !!
Quoting aerdingus (Reply 6):
Also.....please not Dana....imagine her little girls voice greeting dignitaries...


      I'd prefer Dana International to Miss Perfumed Knickers.
 
sw733
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 18):
given his academic background and his interests in numerous aspects of Irish culture and background in Trinity College

I never said he wasn't qualified...quite the opposite, in fact. I was merely stating that I hoped the statement "I hope he makes he" had to do with his qualifications for the office, and not simply because he is gay. Also, it does take more than a good education to be a good leader. He does appear to have that, but there are plenty of academically smart folks who cannot lead worth a damn, and vice versa.
 
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aerdingus
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:38 pm

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 18):
Honestly, who among us would not do the same in similar circumstances, whatever the crime?

Uhhh I duno, I'd feel a battle with my conscience over something like that.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 18):
I'd prefer Dana International to Miss Perfumed Knickers.

   Bahaha, Dana International, that would be amazing!
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OA260
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:16 pm

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 20):
Uhhh I duno, I'd feel a battle with my conscience over something like that.

Me too its not like he faked his driving license or something its a lot more serious. I guess they say love is blind but there is also doing what is right and to be a President you need to be squeaky clean or as near to it as possible. I just feel it could come back to haunt him during the term(s) . We need a scandal free candidate who will carry on the good work and be a strong figure during these difficult times.
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: A Gay President For Ireland?

Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:17 am

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 20):
Uhhh I duno, I'd feel a battle with my conscience over something like that.
Quoting OA260 (Reply 21):
Me too its not like he faked his driving license or something its a lot more serious

Well, you are both to be admired for taking the moral high ground, but I really do think it's hard to say unless you are in that position yourself. Say someone I knew -- such as a relative or former partner -- whom I liked or even loved, got themselves into a similar sistuation, or worse. Knowing their good character and background, I would probably rationalise their behaviour and would have no hesitation in supporting them. Situations are rarely black and white, so I would base my assessment of their crime on their history as well as the deed. We are all flawed and can have weaknesses or weak moments. I'd have no problem appealing for leniency if I felt they merited it. If, on the other hand, they were a sleazeball or had a history of such behaviour, there's no way I'd support them, no matter how closely related or how much I knew them. In that case, I'd reckon they got everything they deserved. I think most people would apply similar logic: it's a huge grey area.

David will have to do something about the letters though: it's his Achilles' heel and could torpedo his chances of winning, which would be a shame.

McGuinness is too divisive to be president and he's not faring well in interviews: he's getting too tetchy and defensive when quizzed about his IRA past and no doubt more of that will surface.

I think the one to watch will be Dana. There's no way I'd vote for her, but she's a capable performer, and well able to turn her naivety to her advantage, which will appeal to a lot of people. She comes across as modest compared to all the other candidates, which can only do her good.

And I can't look at Michael D without thinking of Yoda . . .

I've been glued to the coverage and I'm just sorry that I'll be away for two weeks from next weekend and miss most of the campaign, but luckily I'll be back in time to vote. It really will be the most fascinating presidential election, and anything could happen.

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