BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg were excited to see the wedding programs they ordered for their big day. But when the package arrived, the gay couple was horrified to instead find religious pamphlets with messages about temptation and sin, according to a federal lawsuit against printing company Vistaprint.
The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Massachusetts, accuses Vistaprint of attacking the couple because they’re gay by replacing their wedding program order with the “hateful, discriminatory” pamphlets.
“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, who got married in Pennsylvania in September, said in a statement.
Vistaprint has a regional headquarters in Massachusetts.
The company released a statement to WBZ-TV saying in part, “We want to say how incredibly saddened we are to hear this story. To know that any person could be treated in such a way especially during a time that should be filled with joy is extremely disheartening…We have never been more disappointed to let a customer down.”
They also said they would be launching an investigation into how the ordeal occurred and have begun discussing ways to better support diversity and the LGBTQ community within the company and outwardly.
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.
The lawsuit says the pamphlets received by the couple on the eve of their wedding included phrases such as “fight against Satan’s temptation and pursue what is good” and “do not set on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.” The couple, who lives in Australia, says the pamphlets were designed to intimidate and threaten them.
David Gottlieb, an attorney for the couple, said they did not complain to Vistaprint at the time of their wedding because they had to scramble to print their own programs in time for the ceremony. Gottlieb said they hope that their lawsuit will bring public attention to the issue to ensure others don’t receive the same treatment.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses Vistaprint of discriminating against the couple because they’re gay and breaching a contract for not delivering the programs they ordered.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)