Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1978

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The Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 was a draft order proposed by the UK Government (which was at that time responsible for Northern Ireland legislation. It would have brought the law in Northern Ireland broadly in line with England and Wales by decriminalising sexual acts in private between men over 21. The Government invited comments on the draft Order, and found that opinion was more or less evenly divided, with none of the 12 Northern Ireland MPs wishing to support it. The Order was therefore not proceeded with.[1]

The law was finally reformed four years later, by the Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982, in response to the Dudgeon v the United Kingdom judgement.


  1. http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-57473#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-57473%22]} European Court of Human Rights, Judgement in the case of Dudgeon v the United Kingdom Paragraphs 24 to 26