An internet domain name being used by a New Zealand anti-gay political party now redirects to a website for the marriage equality campaign after the party forgot to renew its ownership of the domain name.
Www.FamilyFirst.co.nz, along with a similar .org domain name, was being used by the New Zealand Family First Party which claims to promote family values but spends most of its time campaigning against LGBT rights and abortion.
However the group forgot to renew its ownership of the web address when it expired on August 28, which was noticed by Wellington man Hamish Gowenlock who bought the domain name and redirected its traffic to www.MarriageEquality.co.nz.
New Zealand’s National Business Review reported that Gowenlock believed around 200 people an hour were visiting the website and being redirected to the Marriage Equality NZ website.
‘The temptation was to redirect the site to something less suitable for work, (i.e. porn) was very great,’ Gowenlock posted on Facebook.
‘But in the end I decided to play the upper hand and be civil.’
‘I grabbed the domain because I know many people (myself included) who have at some stage or another been offended by what [Family First leader] Bob McCroskie has said,’ Gowenlock told the National Business Review.
Family First could potentially refer the matter to New Zealand’s Domain Name Commission, but the fact that they were only using the website to redirect traffic to their .org website would make their case harder to argue.
‘If I really do have to hand the domain back, I suppose I'll have to, but I don't think it will be without a fight,’ Gowenlock said.
Family First NZ recently gathered 50,000 signatures in opposition to same-sex marriage but a bill creating marriage equality passed its first vote in the New Zealand Parliament anyway.
The group has claimed that churches will be forced to marry same-sex couples against their will if the bill passes.
The news comes as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has been attacked in a homophobic smear campaign in his electorate, declaring him ‘too gay’ for the seat over his support for same-sex marriage.
Flyers for New Zealand’s Conservative Party distributed in Key’s electorate of Hellensville with the slogan saying that its leader ‘should stand here because John Key is too gay for Helensville.’
New Zealand’s Conservative Party is lead by billionaire businessman Colin Craig who has been campaigning unsuccessfully to win office since 2010.
‘Give me a break,’ Key told media in response to the flyer.
‘We live in a world where equality is pretty important.’