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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A gay couple ordered programs for their same-sex "marriage" from VistaPrint; but when they received a stack of Catholic pamphlets instead, they were horrified. They are now filing a federal lawsuit.
For their same-sex "wedding" ceremony in September last year, Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg purchased 100 custom wedding programs.
The night before the ceremony, the men received a box from VistaPrint in the mail. They opened the box, expecting to see their "wedding" programs. Instead, they found 80 copies of a Catholic pamphlet about the battle against temptation.
It is unclear how the pamphlets ended up at their address. Some suspect it was just a shipping error on the part of VistaPrint. But earlier this week, Heasley and Borg filed a lawsuit against VistaPrint, accusing the company of discriminating against gays.
The new federal lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts, alleges, "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."
A spokesperson for VistaPrint said, "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 pamphlets belong to Battle Ready, a Catholic men's group that promotes spiritual warfare and authentic masculinity. While mainly emphasizing spiritual practices like the Rosary, the group also encourages physical fitness and self-defense.
Battle Ready's website reads, "Some Christians do not take this spiritual warfare seriously. It is BATTLE READY's mission to[,] God-willing, spread the message of the spiritual war raging around us and[,] God-willing, reach the souls of those who need to hear this message."
Attorney Michael J. Willemin, of the law firm Wigdor LLP, is representing Heasley and Borg in the suit. He told the New York Post, "This case presents a particularly egregious example of a company refusing to provide equal services to members of the LBGT community."
The gay couple had to print the programs themselves last-minute. They are suing VistaPrint an undisclosed amount for printing costs and emotional damage.
Court papers say Heasley and Borg "were both emotionally devastated by Vistaprint's intimidating and discriminatory conduct."
"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,'" the lawsuit complains.