The Irish Law distinction between a “gay” and a “homosexual”

Ever wondered what the difference between a “gay” and a “homosexual” is? Thankfully, in Ireland, we have Supreme Court authority on this important distinction.

In his dissenting judgement in Norris v. A.G. [1983] IESC 3; [1984] IR 36,  Henchy J. discussed the campaigns of David (now Senator) Norris and the personality trait that distinguishes the plaintiff from a “mere homosexual”:

His subsequent public espousal of the cause of male homosexuals in this State may be thought to be tinged with a degree of that affected braggadocio which is said by some to distinguish a “gay” from a mere homosexual.

For those readers born after 1878, OED defines braggadocio as:

1. An empty, idle boaster; a swaggerer.

2. The talk of such a person, empty vaunting.

So there you have it!