A comedian and archbishop walk into a bar to chat politics, and what happened next was no laughing matter.
On a recent episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Q&A," actor and comedian Magda Szubanski (Mrs. Hoggett in "Babe") debated Anglican archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies on the merits of same-sex marriage — a hot-button issue currently being voted on in Australia.
Szubanski and Davies were there representing opposing sides of the heated issue. Szubanski, who is openly gay, supports the country's "yes" campaign in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, while Davies has been rallying the country to vote "no."
In an emotional plea with Davies that has since gone viral, Szubanski passionately explained why the church should have much more limited influence in shaping public policy.
Same-sex marriage: Magda Szubanski nails it on Q&A
Magda Szubanski nails it on Q&A: "You won't even let me marry outside the Church … Why should you have the right to tell me or any other person, straight or gay, what they do in the civil domain? That's not your domain."Posted by Guardian Australia on Monday, October 23, 2017
"Now, I accept that the church will never marry me. That grieves me in ways that you will never know," Szubanski began, her voice tight.
But, she said, that's something she's come to accept:
"I’m less of an atheist than people would think. 74.9% of people in Australia get married outside the church. Now, I accept that the church will never marry me. That grieves me in ways that you will never know. I’m the one in my family, when I buried my parents, I organized every detail of the requiem masses, I wrote the orders of service, I put the pall over my mother’s coffin."
[rebelmouse-image 19532375 dam="1" original_size="500x275" caption="GIF via "Q&A."" expand=1]GIF via "Q&A."
Growing frustrated, Szubanski pointed out how outrageous it is that the church should have any authority to also decide who can get married outside of its doors:
"Now, I accept that the Catholic church will never marry me. But you won’t even let me marry outside the church. … Fair enough, in your domain, you do what you like. We live in a 'live and let live' society. I don’t want to tell anyone else what to do."
Szubanski's brief but powerful argument was met with loud cheers from the live audience. A "yes" vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, however, is far from assured.
The vote over gay marriage is heating up.
A mail-in, voluntary survey — which began in September and will close on Nov. 7 — will prompt the Australian parliament to debate and vote on the issue, should the "yes" campaign garner more votes. That will likely lead to a change in public policy. If "no" wins out, however, the status quo — which gives no legal right for same-sex partners to wed — will remain. (It's a ... complicated process.)
Australians overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage, public polling has shown. But as the end to the mail-in vote draws nearer, advocates for the "yes" campaign have become increasingly concerned with low voter participation among key groups, particularly younger Australians, who they see as crucial to changing the law in favor of LGBTQ rights.
A "yes" victory might seem inevitable, which could be contributing to lower turnout, some have said noted — but it's anything but. And if voters don't decide at the ballot box, the church will, as Szubanski noted.
"Why should you have the right to tell me — or any other person, straight or gay — what they do in the civil domain?" Szubanski asked Davies, as the audience cheered. "That’s not your domain."