Ireland's First Gay Presidential Candidate Drops Out David Norris was leading polls before scandal ruined candidacy By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Aug 3, 2011 5:45 AM CDT 13 comments Comments Openly gay David Norris, leading candidate in Ireland's presidential election, has stepped down after it was revealed he wrote a letter asking for clemency for his former lover who was charged with statutory... (Getty Images) (Newser) – The leading candidate in Ireland's presidential race—the openly gay David Norris—is stepping down, after it was revealed he wrote a letter asking for clemency for his former partner who was on trial for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy, reports the Guardian. The 67-year-old Norris would have been Europe's first gay president, had he been elected in October. Norris' former partner, Israeli peace activist Ezra Yitzhak Nawi, was found guilty of statutory rape of a Palestinian boy in 1997 and spent time in prison. The scandal caused many of Norris' prime backers to quit his campaign, but the James Joyce scholar's candidacy was finally finished last night when he lost the support of his parliamentary backers, a necessary piece of standing for president in Ireland. "I would have loved to have had the opportunity as president of Ireland to extend that to the service of the entire people, but that is no longer possible," said Norris.