The Labor Department announced a new proposal Wednesday aiming to give religious employers who seek federal contracts broad freedom to hire and fire workers.

Some religious organizations praised the proposed rule as providing much-needed clarification, but opponents quickly decried it as a license to discriminate against LGBT people, single mothers and other workers.

The rule “authorizes discrimination in the name of religion,” warned Louise Melling, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, called it “a license to discriminate.”

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