David Norris, Gay Irish Senator, Backed For Presidential Race

David Norris, an Irish senator and a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocate, could become his nation's first openly gay head of state after securing the nomination to stand for the Oct. 27 presidential election.

As The Guardian is reporting, Norris, a Trinity College Dublin academic, will now stand against six other candidates after receiving the backing of 13 councillors on Tuesday night. Norris is quoted as saying he was "absolutely thrilled and over the moon. I believe I will be the next president of Ireland."

Still, the road to securing the candidacy has been a rocky one for Norris. In August, Reuters reported that he briefly pulled out of the race after it emerged he had written to Israeli authorities urging clemency for his former partner Ezra Yitzhak, who was convicted in a 1992 statutory rape case involving a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

If elected, Norris would follow Johanna Sigurdardottir, who became the world's first openly gay head of state when she was sworn in as Iceland's Prime Minister in 2009, as The Independent reported.

Norris joins a "colorful line up" of Irish contenders vying to succeed President Mary McAleese, who has served two seven-year terms, the AFP is reporting. Also included on this year's ballot is 1970 Eurovision song contest winner Dana Rosemary Scallon and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.