The anti-equality Coalition for Marriage (C4M), formed by an alliance of faith groups to oppose the extension of marriage to same-sex couples in the UK, claims on its website that it now has half-a-million signatures in support of its petition.

This morning, between 6.30 and 6.40 in the morning, within the span of ten minutes, the number of signatures on their website jumped up from 498,039 to 501,240. Previously, when approached by PinkNews.co.uk, C4M claimed that the sudden jumps in the number of signatures is due to the addition of paper signatures regularly to its website.

A PinkNews.co.uk investigation however has found serious concerns about the petition, and further doubts emerged in the aftermath of the revelation that Catholic school children, as young as 11, were coerced into signing the petition. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has since launched an investigation into the matter.

The pro-equality campaign, Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM), by contrast, has 53,000 signatures on its website, though, while C4EM has approximately 9,300 tweets on its website, C4M only has a third of that value.

PinkNews.co.uk encourages its readers to sign both the C4EM petition, and the government consultation on civil marriage for gay couples.