A waste of time. A waste of money. A dreadful and dangerous idea.
These are just some of the terms Canberra's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have used to describe the federal government's proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced legislation to Parliament this week that would see Australians vote on the issue on February 11, LGBT groups in the ACT have spoken out against the plebiscite, saying it will unleash vitriol and homophobia on the community.
Dianne Hinton is the president of Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) Capital Region and said members of the group are willing to wait longer for marriage equality in Australia, rather than potentially have it in five months' time after a public vote.
"The notion that our families will become a national discussion, something to be judged by strangers, to us is appalling," she said.
"Now that we've finally seen some detail, we know it's worse than we expected."
While the Prime Minister said he trusted the public to have a respectful and civil debate surrounding the $170 million plebiscite, Mrs Hinton remains unconvinced.
She said the national vote will create further divisions within the community.
"Much of our community work is around repairing or averting family breakdown when a family member comes out. There continues to be stigma, fear and confusion relating to sexuality and gender identity," she said.
"This will only be amplified in households, workplaces and congregations if a plebiscite provides a validation for the opportunity to be judgmental of others."
Joel Pearce is a member of Diversity ACT, an organisation that provides counselling and support services to members of the LGBT community in Canberra.
He said if the plebiscite is passed, he expects to see an increase in people using these support services, particularly teenagers.
"It only takes a few narrow-minded people in the community to come out and say damaging things to cause a significant number of LGBT people to feel bad about themselves," Mr Pearce said.
"It's going to give a platform for those few people in the community with extremist views to preach division."
Despite the legislation being introduced to Parliament, the plebiscite is looking increasingly likely to be voted down in the Senate.
With the Greens and several crossbench senators having already signalled their intentions to block the plebiscite, the Coalition needs Labor's support in order for the bill to pass.
While Labor is yet to commit to a formal position on the issue, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to ask party members to vote against it.
Diversity ACT president Delia Quigley said although her organisation does not support the idea of a plebiscite, she remains optimistic about the chances of seeing same-sex marriage legalised in Australia in the near future.
"We do not believe the plebiscite will be the only way for marriage equality to occur," she said.
"There are a number of other bills currently tabled before Parliament that may be more suitable and palatable to the public that the Parliament could vote on without all of the negative costs and negative debate."