Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg filed a lawsuit against Vistaprint for allegedly sending them anti-gay pamphlets rather than the wedding programs they ordered.
The two Australian men were married in Butler County, Pennsylvania, in September and ordered 100 blue and gold programs that included lyrics to their processional song, “Treasure,” by Above and Beyond. They were shocked when they opened up a box that contained about 80 copies of the pamphlet “Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of the faith.” They had to print their own programs at an additional cost.
“At first we thought it was simply a mistake, and we had accidentally received someone else’s order. But once we saw the images and actually read a bit of the pamphlet, we quickly realized this wasn’t a simple or innocent error,” the couple said in an email. “Both of our initial reactions were ones of shock … utter shock. The wording and imagery was aggressive, threatening, and deeply personally offensive.”
Heasley said that the person who sent the pamphlets had their personal addresses.
“We were getting married on a family farm in what we understand to be a fairly conservative and rural part of Pennsylvania,” he explained. “If ill-intentioned people decided to target our wedding and guests, we would have very few options to escape or seek shelter.”
According to the lawsuit, the printing company deliberately sent the pamphlets to threaten and attack the couple for being gay.
“This case presents a particularly egregious example of a company refusing to provide equal services to members of the LBGTQ community,” their lawyer, Michael J. Willemin, said.
A spokesperson for Vistaprint said the company launched an investigation immediately after finding out about the incident.
“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 customize products for their special events.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and aims to hold Vistaprint accountable for their actions so that something like this doesn’t happen to someone else in the future.
This isn’t the first time a gay couple has sued for discrimination. Just this month, Marc and Rusty Andrus filed a lawsuit against the town of Thayne, for allegedly violating their constitutional rights after they opened up a restaurants two years ago.
When the two men applied for a liquor license, the town council allegedly discriminated against them raising the license fee from $1,500 to $10,500. After they received their license, Mayor DeLand Lainhart threatened to take it away if the restaurant’s grill wasn’t turn on, even though no such law exists. He also told them they couldn’t have a neon sign outside their restaurant.
The couple are asking for relief from further discrimination and punitive damages.