The UK Parliament equalised the age of consent for gay men with heterosexuals on 30 November 2000. For homosexuals the age of consent was reduced from 18 to 16, parity with heterosexuals. In Northern Ireland the age of consent was reduced to 17 years.
The government used special powers to force the measure through. There was considerable opposition on religious grounds and from the House of Lords. It was only the fourth time since World War One that the Parliament Act had been used to force a change in the law.
Ministers were entitled to use the special powers granted under the Parliament Act after the measure was approved twice in the Commons, but blocked in the Lords.
Updated 15 November 2014: Original news resource no longer available.