A recently married gay couple has filed a federal lawsuit against printing company Vistaprint after allegedly receiving discriminatory flyers instead of their wedding programs.
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According to the lawsuit, Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg of Australia discovered the flyers when they went to open a package they had received from Vistaprint the night before their wedding in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Instead of the colorful blue and yellow programs they had ordered, there were about 80 flyers entitled “Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of the faith.”
Printed on the flyers were a number of statements the couple alleges were purposefully meant to threaten them as a direct result of their sexual orientation, including, “The supreme tempter is Satan who uses our weaknesses to lead us into sin. You must understand where temptations come from if you desire to change the way you live.”
Borg and Heasley say agents or employees of the Middlesex, Massachusetts, company intended to discriminate against them by choosing not to provide them with the same services as a straight couple.
Beyond the emotional damages, the couple says they paid Vistaprint $79.49 for 100 copies of their programs, and were forced to print their own programs just before their wedding, at an extra cost to them. Since they had already paid Vistaprint, they allege the company was in breach of contract.
In a letter to customers, the CEOs of Vistaprint and Cimpress -- Vistaprint's founder and owner -- Trynka Shineman and Robert Keane wrote, "On January 16th, we learned that a same sex couple who were married in Pennsylvania in September of last year ordered 100 custom wedding programs from Vistaprint and instead, received pamphlets that they felt were hurtful. To know that any customer could feel treated in such a way, especially during a time that should be filled with joy, is extremely disheartening.
"We have never been more disappointed to let a customer down,” they added.
According to the letter, a third party which fills Vistaprint orders sent Borg and Heasley an order meant for a different customer, though their investigation is ongoing.
Shineman and Keane also claim they have reached out to the couple to "express [their] sadness."
In a statement obtained by Boston ABC affiliate WCVB, Borg and Heasley said, "Our goal is to hold Vistaprint accountable for the harm they have caused, to give a voice to others who may have been similarly victimized, to help prevent this from happening to someone else and to send a message that there will be consequences for acts of hate perpetrated against others."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as a result of economic, mental and emotional distress.