Magda Szubanski: 'Marriage equality is not just about love. It's about illness and death.'

On February 12, 2012, Australian comedian Magda Szubanski came out on The Project.

“I am absolutely not straight, I wouldn’t define myself as bisexual either,” she told the panel, which consisted of fellow comedian Dave Hughes, Charlie Pickering, Carrie Bickmore and Steve Price at the time.

“I would say I am like gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay a little bit not gay, gay, gay, gay,” she said.

Five-and-a-half years later, and the 56-year-old can’t believe same-sex marriage has not yet been legalised in Australia, and she’s encouraging people to enrol to have their say in the upcoming plebiscite.

(FYI, Australians have until midnight tonight to enrol or check their details have been updated. You can do that here.)

But the issue is about “more than just love” to the Kath & Kim star.

Magda Szubanski The Project
Image via Channel 10.

"It's not just about matters of abstract issues like's not just about love, it's about illness and death. That's when it really comes to the crunch," she said.

"People need to know you are not equally protected if you have a de facto relationship compared to a marriage."

Holding back tears, Szubanski shared the story of a close friend who was banned from the hospital room of her long-term partner while she was undergoing a painful cancer treatment.


"She wanted to be in the room with her... and the doctor said next of kin only. Parents, siblings, no spouses," she said.

"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.

"In whose universe is that fair? What God thinks that is right, I don't understand it."

She also acknowledged that for some people - young Australians in particular - the ongoing conversation surrounding same-sex marriage and a lack of action has caused them to become "disillusioned".

"I actually think young people are really passionate...but I think they are disillusioned," she said.

"We see so much of politics is people winning points and trying to stay in power, and when they [get there] they're not really doing things that they really believe in or that really matter."

Her message is simple: do not give up.

"In these moments of not give up the fight. That's when you enrol, that's when you do everything you can to make this country the fairest place you can," she said.

"I guarantee you, even if you are not LGBTQI, your brother or your sister, your children or your grandchildren, or your nieces or your nephews will be.

"You are deciding now what sort of a world you will create for them."

LISTEN: A message for Malcolm Turnbull about the same-sex marriage plebiscite.