Vistaprint Sued For Sending Gay Couple Religious Literature

Vistaprint sued by Borg and Heasley over anti-gay religious materials sent instead of wedding programs

On the eve of their wedding, Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg received a package from Vistaprint with what was supposed to be wedding programs. Instead, they received anti-LGBTQ religious material warning them about temptation entitled, ““Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of the faith.”

Click to Enlarge

After receiving the wrong materials, the couple had to place another order – at their own expense – to receive the programs before getting married.

Several weeks after that September 2017 wedding, still shaken over the experience, the couple filed a lawsuit against Vistaprint.

The New York Post offered details on the lawsuit and the order that led to it:

Heasley, 39, and Borg, 31, had ordered 100 blue and gold programs for $79.49 that included the lyrics to their processional song, “Treasure” by Above and Beyond. They had gotten engaged on the same day they saw the English electronic-dance music group perform “Treasure.”

But “when Mr. Heasley and Mr. Borg opened the Vistaprint package, they were horrified to find that Vistaprint had not shipped their customized wedding package,” according to their Massachusetts federal suit, which also targets the “John Doe” responsible for the odious incident.

The lawsuit is straightforward in its accusations.

“Rather than send plaintiffs the custom wedding programs they had purchased, Vistaprint instead sent plaintiffs literature with hateful, discriminatory and anti-gay messages equating their relationship to Satan’s temptation,” the lawsuit states. “The pamphlets — plainly sent to threaten and attack Mr. Heasley and Mr. Borg because they are gay — warn that ‘Satan entices your flesh with evil desires’.”

In a statement accompanying the suit, the couple said, “Our goal is to hold Vistaprint accountable for the harm they have caused … and to send a message that there will be consequences for acts of hate perpetrated against others.”

The couple elaborated on their shock and disappointment speaking with Yahoo.

Click to Enlarge

“At first we thought it was simply a mistake, and we had accidentally received someone else’s order,” they the couple told Yahoo. “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 wording and imagery was aggressive, threatening, and deeply personally offensive.”

“We realized that whoever had sent this had our personal addresses,” they added. “We were getting married on a family farm in what we understand to be a fairly conservative and rural part of Pennsylvania. If ill-intentioned people decided to target our wedding and guests, we would have very few options to escape or seek shelter.”

In targeting both the employee (listed as ‘John Doe’ in the suit) as well as the company, the couple hopes to hold Vistaprint accountable so this never happens again.

“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 couple told Yahoo.

Responding to the lawsuit, Vistaprint spokesperson Sara Nash denied the company would engage in such actions. “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.”

She added, “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.”

The suit – filed in Massachusetts District Court – seeks unspecified damages. Heasley and Borg – who actually live in Australia – held their ceremony in Coatesville, Pennsylvania so friends could attend.

 

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.

Comments

Loading Disqus Comments ...

One comment

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...