The Labor Department on Wednesday announced a new rule to grant the “broadest protection permitted by law” to religious organizations contracting with the federal government.

The proposed rule to clarify civil rights protections for religious groups will be added to the Federal Register on Thursday, but is now open to public comment.   

“Today’s proposed rule helps to ensure the civil rights of religious employers are protected,” acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella said in a statement. “As people of faith with deeply held religious beliefs are making decisions on whether to participate in federal contracting, they deserve clear understanding of their obligations and protections under the law.”

The proposed rule is based on portions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Labor Department also cited Supreme Court decisions in which a high court majority protected religious liberty, such as in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores cases.

However, several left-leaning organizations attacked the proposal, charging it would allow discrimination against the LGBT community. 

“Once again, the Trump administration is shamefully working to license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion,” Ian Thompson, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government. We will work to stop this rule that seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace.”

Full story at The Daily Signal.