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Judge, who upheld ‘blasphemy’ verdict against gay newspaper, dies aged 96

Nick Duffy October 4, 2014

A High Court judge who famously upheld a verdict of “blasphemous libel” against a gay newspaper has passed away, aged 96.

Sir Edward Eveleigh heard an appeal after the 1977 court dispute, in which conservative activist Mary Whitehouse launched legal action against Denis Lemon, the editor of the now-defunct Gay News.

Ms Whitehouse objected to the publication of James Kirkup’s poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name in the magazine – which describes Jesus as a gay man who had sex with his disciples.

Sir Edward Eveleigh was one of three judges to uphold a verdict of ‘blasphemous libel’, with Gay News’ attorney John Mortimer QC remarking that the much-criticised ruling made blasphemy laws tougher than under Queen Victoria.

The case also led to extensive protest from early gay rights activists, despite the eventual defeat.

The Telegraph reports today that Sir Edward Eveleigh, the former Lord Justice of Appeal – has passed away, aged 96.

The judge, who was admitted to the Privy Council in 1977, is survived by his third wife Nell Cox, and his two sons.

More: blasphemous libel, blasphemy, case, England, gay news, judge, Law, Legal, UK

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