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News NetworkStrange Gay Marriage Vote at Courier Mail

Strange Gay Marriage Vote at Courier Mail

By Billy Moffat (27/10/2011)784 words
Tagged: australi, current affairs, editorial, homosexuality, news, politics

Summary: The Courier Mail's straw poll on what Australians think of same-sex marriage is experiencing some strange trends in the numbers.

The Courier Mail is an Australian newspaper owned by News Limited. News Limited is a child company of News Corporation - which is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire. This is the same conglomerate that brings us News of the World, and Fox News.

Now that you know where the Courier Mail likely stands - not that you should be assuming anything negative about them - you'll understand the suspicious nature of this report.

Koren Helbig wrote a relatively straight-forward and non-inflamatory (in itself) article on same sex marriage that can be found here. What is of interest is that nested in the side of the article, like many controversial topics, is a voting box where people can state their opinion.

Naturally, conservative-leaning politicians and lobbyists are actively against the legalisation of same-sex marriage because they believe it will destroy the sanctity of marriage - much the same as inter-racial marriage was claimed fifty years ago. On top of a divorce rate well above 30%, mail-order brides, and the fact that marriage has historically been a property transaction between the parents of the married persons - allowing people of the same gender to get married would be too against their absolute morality, as reinforced primarily by The Bible - right before the part about women being killed if they marry after losing their virginity and people who trim their beard being stoned to death.

Since the issue of gay marriage has never been raised in Australian politics - at least not by any political party with significant power - so there is surprisingly little data to suggest whether Australia is either for or against same-sex marriage. Because of this, many people consider this straw vote to be a significant milestone in the path of same-sex couples having equal rights in Australia.

The Australian Christian Lobby has reportedly been sending mass emails to encourage its members and the wider community to vote "no" to ensure marriage remains exclusive to those who choose not to disobey the God who smites children for their parents' bad deeds. Conversely, secular lobby groups and LGBTI groups are encouraging people to vote "yes". None of this is particularly unexpected.

What is interesting though, is that the Courier Mail voting tally appears to be experiencing some interesting trends.

In case you couldn't tell by the tone so far of this article, I voted yes on the poll. I then refreshed the page every few minutes to see how it was going. The votes stood at 4100, 2500 and 230 for "Yes", "No" and "I don't care" respectively.

Over the course of a few hours, the yes vote seemed to rise at a much faster rate than the no vote, but unlike the no vote, the yes vote seemed to repeatedly drop by 10-20 points at random intervals, at some points dropping by over a hundred.

Naturally, the Courier Mail is going to claim their servers were being hacked or spammed to artificially raise the number of votes for "yes" by left-wing-computer-hacking extremists - so nothing will be done about this.

Just remember though the next time a conservative-leaning newspaper tells you that the Australian people don't want same-sex marriage - that even with what will be presumably called "fraudulent votes" being removed by the hundreds, the Australian people have said yes by a factor of almost 2-to-1 - and I will go out on a limb to say I don't think they will ever advertise these results.

Update: It would appear the source of the sudden increase would be a Reddit thread that has gone somewhat viral, further verifying my suspicions that the votes being removed are in fact valid votes from people who are passionately pro-equality. The count now stands at 67.13%, 30.15% and 2.72% for "Yes", "No" and "I don't care" respectively.

Update: It's now been about 16 hours since I first wrote this article. The votes now stand at 31314, 3243, 284 (89.9%, 9.3%, 0.8%). I'm still getting reports that the yes votes are dropping by up to a thousand at a time now. Some have suggested IP filtering which might make sense, but from a technical point of view, it would make more sense to lock out duplicate IPs before letting them vote - not removing the duplicates half an hour later. In any case despite the ridiculously high results for "yes" - we can rest assured the Courier Mail has done everything within their power to ensure that no "yes" votes have been counted that shouldn't have been. Let's hope nobody tries to pretend otherwise.

Author - Billy Moffat (thumbnail)
Author - Billy Moffat
Owner and sole developer of Meercat9.com, he attends university full time but has a passionate addiction to the internet, particularly programming. Due to the lack of other developers for the site, he is often forced to write about himself in the third person.