BYRON CENTER, Mich. (WZZM) -- For a long time Boyd Bradshaw and Michael Hintz wanted to be seen like everyone else. Five years ago, on different personal journeys, they attended a reparative therapy session in Chicago.
Bradshaw explains, "People who do not want to accept the fact they are gay for whatever reason; religious reasons, family pressure or whatever go to these places in hopes that they will be 'straightened' out, become straight."
Hintz describes the experience. "I have a Native American background and ironically enough the feeling is you wouldn't have been gay as a native, but within the native community, being too spirited, being too gay is often well known and often celebrated."
When the session was over, they went their separate ways. Boyd back to California, and Michael back to Michigan.They kept in touch in an effort to support each other. Michael says the relationship became more than a friendship. "We began to fall in love."
Michael proposed. Boyd says, "I said yes, absolutely. Even though it's not legal in Michigan yet." Michael adds, "I know people have really strong feelings on the issue on both sides but I don't understand how Boyd and I getting married affects anyone negatively.
So they've moved forward by buying the rings and creating save the date cards with Boyd's favorite insect, the firefly, featured as a theme. The firefly is a winged beetle and seems quite normal in the light, but at night it takes on a glow. In the Native American community, the insect is symbolic-- that while our physical appearance may seem one way, it's what is inside us that makes us shine from the inside out.
Boyd explains, "To me they are magnificent, a bug with a light" Michael adds, "This is about real people's lives. My life, Boyd's life, our children's lives and I think that's what I would tell the court."
As far as location where they'll make it official, that is still to be determined based on the outcome of Michigan's ban on gay marriage. If not in Michigan, they will marry out of state and celebrate In their own backyard in West Michigan. The celebration will have a Native American theme on what they hope will be a perfect July night, preferably with lots of fireflies.