Abortion and same-sex marriage: how are non-sectarian controversial issues discussed in Northern Irish politics?

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Westminster's legislation regarding marriage rights for same sex couples has not been extended to Northern Ireland. Similarly, Northern Ireland has never been under the jurisdiction of the 1967 Abortion Act, making abortion effectively illegal in the province unless it is necessary to preserve the long-term life or health of the woman. This article considers contemporary political debate around abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland to ask; how are controversial (but non-sectarian) issues such as abortion and same sex marriage dealt with in a divided society? Using data from the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey and selected debates from the Northern Irish Assembly, it considers how political parties and post-conflict governance have shaped debate on these issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-501
Number of pages19
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016



  • abortion
  • cultural politics
  • gender
  • Northern Ireland
  • same-sex marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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