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Sat Aug 9, 2014, 03:22 PM

Because he is internationally renowned for his successful fight for gay rights

Last edited Sat Aug 9, 2014, 04:39 PM - Edit history (1)

And it is his bravery and integrity in that long fight, which gives his opinion quite considerable influence on the world stage. It was a very long fight, and he never gave up, eventually winning his case not only on behalf of gays in Ireland, but throughout the entire European Union!


Campaigning and activism
Norris took the Attorney General to the High Court over the criminalisation of homosexual acts. His claim was based on the fact that the law infringed on his right to privacy and that since the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland the law passed under British rule became repugnant to the constitution. The High Court ruled against Norris. He appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Ireland.[24] In 1983, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law by a three to two verdict.[24][25]

Having lost the Supreme Court case, Norris took his case to the European Court of Human Rights (See Norris v. Ireland). In 1988, the European Court ruled that the law criminalising same sex activities was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 8 which protects the right to respect for private life. The law was held to infringe on the right of adults to engage in acts of their own choice.[26]

The first and immediate thing about the European decision is the enlargement of dignity and freedom for gay people but I think a decision like this enhances the dignity and freedom of all the people of Ireland because it pushes us towards a more tolerant and plural society.

Norris's reaction to the European ruling, 1988.[5]

This law was repealed in 1993.
Norris has since then expanded his activism to a concept of "universal rights".
I did start out on that campaign [for homosexual law reform] but I found very quickly that the mechanism of discrimination was exactly the same against women, against ethnic minorities, against the handicapped, so I broadened out and this now is how I see things, very much so.

Norris represents the University of Dublin/Trinity College constituency in the Seanad as an Independent. He was first elected to the Seanad in 1987, and has been re-elected at each election since.[27][28]

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