The Press Complaints Commission received a record 25,000 complaints over a piece by columnist Jan Moir about Gately’s death in October.
She had described the events leading up to the singer’s death from natural causes as “sleazy” and “less than respectable”.
The PCC acknowledged that many complaints believed that there was an “underlying tone of negativity” about Gately’s homosexuality in the article but that “it was not possible to identify any direct uses of pejorative or prejudicial language”.
The PCC adds that although it was “uncomfortable with the tenor of the columnist’s remarks”, argument and debate “should not be constrained unnecessarily.”
PCC director Stephen Able says: “It would not be proportionate to rule against the columnist’s right to offer freely expressed views about something that was the focus of public attention,” he adds.
Moir’s column had led to thousands of complaints on Facebook and Twitter and led to advertising from brands such as National Express, BT Broadband, Marks & Spencer and Procter and Gamble being pulled from around the article.