Family First’s anti gay marriage website is back up and running after an “unprecedented attack” took out the website’s host servers.
“Protect Marriage” was launched by Family First yesterday, but minutes later was removed from the web when it became the immediate target of a “large-scale denial of service attack” according to the site’s webhost.
Family First director Bob McCroskrie said the website was dedicated to opposing Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage Equality Bill, which was pulled from the ballot last week and had sparked heated debate from both sides.
While the site was reinstated a couple of times yesterday, its Christchurch-based webhost had to eventually pull the site completely because hackers had overwhelmed their servers so much it affected every other website hosted by the company.
Family First’s own website was also hosted by the company and has also been pulled.
A message is now reading the domain for familyfirst.org.nz has been suspended.
Family First has reinstated the site with an international hosting company that had larger servers and tighter security measures.
“It is disappointing that some opponents in the marriage debate are unwilling to have robust debate and are resorting to desperate – but failed – attempts to shut us down,” McCroskrie said.
“We are also disappointed that our web host company was targeted with offensive emails simply because they were a Christchurch business that we wanted to support and who were willing to host some of our websites.”
Meanwhile, US band Train have tweeted they are working on getting their music video “Marry Me” removed from the site, but it still featured on the site’s homepage today.
Train caught wind their song was being used by Family First after a Twitter user alerted the band their song was being used on an “anti gay marriage website”.
A user named @Mikey_J_S6 tweeted the band last night saying: “Why does your music video appear on a homophobic lobby group’s website?”. Train responded saying “Didn’t know. Getting it off asap. Tnx 4 tip”.
McCroskrie said they had not yet heard from Train, but if they were asked to take the song down they would.
“We’re not going to go by some post on Twitter, but if the band contact us then we will certainly take it down.”
Latest tweets would suggest it is now in the hands of Sony, who were working to get the video off the website.
At a Victoria University debate on the issue at the weekend, Wall said she expected a significant amount of vitriol directed her way and had already received nasty emails from those who opposed it.
“But you know what, I just send them back some love because that is what this is all about.”
Wall, who is the bill’s leader, said the point of it was to put human rights at the forefront of discussion.
“It’s not about friction or conflict, it’s about having rational conversations and engagements with people and bringing back at the end of the day to a very personal level.”
Both Wall and fellow Labour MP Charles Chauvel, who got married to his partner in Canada where the laws would allow, were expecting “dirty tactics” to arise from minority sectors.
“While I’m confident and hopeful about us having the numbers to get this legislation through, there will be bitter opposition to it from a minority, but a vocal and sometimes nasty minority,” Chauvel said.
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