Gay couple sues printing company for sending pamphlets about Satan instead of wedding programmes

PHOTO: Reuters

Andrew Borg and Stephen Heasley, a couple who recently got married, is suing the Massachusetts-based printing company Vistaprint for sending them a box of homophobic pamphlets instead of the wedding programs that they ordered.

The wedding programs ordered by Borg and Heasley were to have listed the order of events in the ceremony, members of the wedding party, and the lyrics to the song "Treasure" by Above and Beyond which played as the couple walked down the aisle. Instead, they received anti-gay pamphlets that contained warnings like "Satan entices your flesh with evil desires" and "Satan knows our flesh is weak. He preys upon our weaknesses to tempt us to sin."

"This was by far the most direct, personal, and aggressive act of homophobia either of us has experienced to date," the couple stated.

"At first we thought it was simply a mistake, and we had accidentally received someone else's order," the couple said.

"But once we saw the images and actually read a bit of the pamphlet, we quickly realised this wasn't a simple or innocent error. Both of our initial reactions were ones of shock … utter shock. The wording and imagery was aggressive, threatening, and deeply personally offensive," they added.

Read also: Baker discriminated by denying gay couple wedding cake: US judge

After being contacted by Yahoo! Lifestyle, Vistaprint's spokesperson issued the following statement:

"Vistaprint would never discriminate against customers for their sexual orientation. We pride ourselves on being a company that celebrates diversity and enables customers all over the world to customise products for their special events. We have just been made aware of this incident in the last few hours. We understand how upsetting it would be for anyone to receive materials such as these the night before their wedding and we have immediately launched an internal investigation. Until we have had the opportunity to complete our investigation, we cannot comment further."

The damage has been done, however, and the couple has been "rattled by anger and fear" by the incident.

"The pain from those memories has not faded," said Heasley. "Andrew describes his hurt as though feeling like someone has completely robbed him of what would have turned out to be nothing short of a brilliant wedding."

The couple filed the lawsuit last January 16 at the US District Court of Massachusetts, noting that their 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."

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