Couple sues wedding program printer for homophobic pamphlets

On the eve of their September 2017 nuptials, Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg were appalled at what they found inside their box of wedding programs.

Instead of the cream, floral edged pamphlets they had ordered from major boutique printer Vistaprint, the couple found fiery anti-gay literature.

The pamphlets featured anti-gay, hateful messages.

The pamphlets featured anti-gay, hateful messages. (Courtesy of Wigdor LLP)

“Satan knows our flesh is weak. He preys upon our weaknesses to tempt us to sin. Satan can only influence us to want to sin. He cannot make us sin,” the homophobic pamphlets titled “Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of the faith" read. “Satan entices your flesh with evil desires.”

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A design of the couple's intended wedding programs.

A design of the couple's intended wedding programs. (Courtesy of Wigdor LLP)

“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,” Heasley and Borg confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Both of our initial reactions were ones of shock … utter shock. The wording and imagery was aggressive, threatening and deeply personally offensive.”

Four months after an otherwise picture-perfect wedding day, the couple says “the pain from those memories has not faded."

Four months after an otherwise picture-perfect wedding day, the couple says “the pain from those memories has not faded." (Courtesy of Wigdor LLP)

“This was by far the most direct, personal, and aggressive act of homophobia either of us has experienced to date,” the couple said of the shipment.

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The newlyweds told the Daily News they spent weeks designing the programs and paid $79.49 for them.

Scrambling to order replacements ahead of their ceremony and reception for 100-plus guests, Heasley, 31, and Borg, 39, only recently took legal action against Vistaprint. On Jan. 16, the newlyweds filed a case in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, where the printer is based, further claiming emotional pain and breach of contract.

They have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, where Vistaprint is based.

They have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, where Vistaprint is based. (Courtesy of Wigdor LLP)

“The pain from those memories has not faded,” Heasley said, four months after an otherwise picture-perfect wedding day.

“We realized that whoever had sent this had our personal addresses,” he 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.”

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The newlyweds have since hired representation from law firms in New York and Boston, seeking an award for damages and trial by jury, Yahoo reports.

“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," Heasley and Borg concluded via email.

Vistaprint told Fox News via email that they were “incredibly saddened” to hear the news and that the company has begun a “complete investigation to determine how and why the couple received these materials.”

“We share in this couple’s outrage. Vistaprint in no way condones – and does not tolerate – discrimination against any of our customers based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.  We have encouraged members of the LGBTQ community to use our services to help celebrate their life events for many years, and have published thousands of wedding invitations, programs and other content for same sex couples,” a company spokesperson confirmed on behalf of CEO’s Trynka Shineman and Robert Keane.

Adding that Vistaprint has reached out to Heasley and Borg to express their apologies for the incident, the company has set up an ongoing communications page as the investigation continues.