The Sunday Magazine·The Sunday Edition

David Norris: The Senator who sued the Irish government to make homosexuality legal

Outspoken Independent Senator David Norris is a gay rights activist, a James Joyce scholar and one of Ireland's most colourful politicians.
Michael and Senator David Norris sharing a laugh at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin. (Chris Wodskou)

Beyond Ireland it would be difficult to find a politician who holds such strong, radical opinions and expresses them with such a salty candour, having long ago stopped caring what people think of him. Such a politician can be found in the pin-striped roly-poly figure of David Norris. He is one of Ireland's most popular politicians and its most prominent gay activist.

Elected as an independent senator in 1987, he has been returned to office in every election since. He led the fight for same-sex marriage, which as was legalized with last year's referendum. That victory came a few decades after he successfully sued the Irish government to decriminalize homosexuality.

Senator Norris is a tireless fighter on behalf of human rights and social justice and an expert on, of course, James Joyce. The verbal volcano, Senator David Norris sat down with Michael in an empty room at the James Joyce Centre.


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