William and Marge Bradshaw have five children and 18 grandchildren.
They’ve been together ever since they met on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They’re family-oriented folks, who, like so many other Utah parents, have waited for the day their children can enjoy the kind of life they’ve led — a life filled with love, family and, ultimately, marriage to a committed partner.
In a television ad campaign set to launch this week, the couple tell viewers that their son — a gay man — deserves that kind of life.
In the ads, sponsored by the same-sex marriage advocacy group Utah Unites for Marriage, the Bradshaws share their story, and their family, in hopes of convincing others that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would strengthen, not harm, the state.
"A marriage is a bond between two people based in love and commitment," William Bradshaw says. "Allowing civil marriages will be a good thing for Utah."
It’s a campaign that emphasizes marriage as a legal and civil right and notes that no church or faith would be required to perform such unions.
Utah Unites for Marriage was formed last month by several notable Utahns, including former U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Terry Wood, a longtime television news anchor, reporter and radio personality.
Wood, who is also featured in one of the group’s TV ads, credits his openly gay son with changing his views on relationships and marriage.
"I’ve come to realize that marriage is for all people," Wood says. "Only civil marriage will give gay and lesbian couples the rights, the responsibilities and the respect they deserve."
The group’s goal, they said at a news conference last month, is to clear up misconceptions about same-sex marriage.
Spokeswoman Jenny Murphy said the ads will bring the group’s message into the living rooms of Utah families with the hopes that they will see that the people on screen are not so different from their own parents, friends, neighbors and relatives.
"If gay and lesbian couples are allowed the right of marriage," Wood says in the ad, "it’s not going to hurt the state in one bit."
The ads will launch Tuesday, just two days before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments in the state’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s historic ruling that overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages.
On Monday evening, Utah Unites for Marriage will participate in a send-off at Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City for the plaintiffs in the case.
The rally, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature several speakers, including Derek Kitchen, Laurie Wood and Kate Call, who, along with their partners, filed the lawsuit that toppled Utah’s Amendment 3.
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