Australian TV icon and comedian Magda Szubanski has said there's more at risk in the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage than "abstract issues like equality", highlighting the legal ramifications for couples stuck in de facto relationships.
In an emotional appearance on 'The Project' on Wednesday night, Szubanski recounted the traumatic experiences of a close friend to highlight the importance of a 'Yes' vote on marriage equality, which she said extends to the right for Australians to equal legal protections.
"It is not just about matters of abstract issues like equality... you are not equally protected if you have a de facto relationship compared to a marriage. It is not just about love. It is about illness and death," she said.
"A friend of mine... her long-term partner had cancer. She wanted to be in the room with her when she was having a painful treatment and the doctor said, 'next of kin only. Parents, siblings. No spouses.'"
"She wasn't allowed in and she had to stand outside and listen to the screams of the woman she loved unable to even comfort her. Now, in whose universe is that fair? What God thinks that is right? I don't understand it."
Magda Szubanski- "Shape the country. Make it a fair and wonderful place." #TheProjectTV— #TheProjectTV (@theprojecttv) August 23, 2017
The popular actor also then went on to say that, while she accepts each individual's freedom to religion, people who "pick and choose what... to live by in the Bible" shouldn't force hypocritical religious views on others.
"Freedom of religion under the umbrella of the rule of law, under the umbrella of equality under the law -- you have to have that fairness, you have to have a basic equity," she said. "I respect people's right to their religion, but don't force your beliefs onto me either."
"People keep going on about political correctness, but the thing about the Bible, and I have said this before, if you want to live by the letter of the law of the Bible -- Exodus, Chapter 35, Verse 2: anyone who works on the Sabbath will be put to death.
"We know historically we have moved beyond that. We have seen that, that doesn't work for the society we live in now. So we do change those traditions. If you are going to pick and choose what you choose to live by in the Bible, don't force me and my people to live by the letter of the law because that is hypocrisy and I will call that out."
Szubanski publicly came out as gay in 2012. After becoming a vocal supporter of marriage equality, media speculation about Szubanski's sexuality pushed the star to confirm on 'The Project'. "Absolutely I identify as gay, and for a very long time have," she said at the time.
magda szubanski's story right now on #TheProjectTV is absolutely powerful.— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) August 23, 2017
As the deadline to update or enrol details for the postal survey on marriage equality nears, Szubankski also used her time on 'The Project' to appeal to young people to "shape the country, make it a fair, wonderful place".
"Young people are really passionate about ideals. They really care. But they think they feel disillusioned because we see so much of politics is people winning points and trying to stay in power and then when they get in power not really doing things that they really believe in or that really matter," she said.
"In these dark times and moments of despair, that is when you do not give up the fight. That is when you enrol. That is when you do everything that you can to make the world the fairest place you can.
"I guarantee you, even if you are not LGBTQI, your brother, your sister, your grandchildren or one of your nieces or nephews will be and you are deciding now what sort of a world we will create for them.
(NOTE: If you haven't already enrolled to vote or update your details, you have ONE more day before the cut-off at midnight on August 24)
The appearance on Wednesday night comes just a day after Szubanski gave an impassioned speech about the effects the marriage equality debate is having on her, while on the 'Today Show'.
"I barely made it through my childhood, and I don't want that to happen to any of these kids," she said.
"And the fact that there are so many wrongs in the world that are so complicated and can't be made right, this is a wrong that can be made right so simply."