Outgoing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, on Friday signed an executive order that protects the LGBT community from discrimination, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called the order a “step backward.”

The order prohibits state departments and agencies from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of procurement, grant and loan programs.

“State government is one of the biggest buyers of goods and services in Michigan and therefore is uniquely positioned to be a leader in ensuring fair treatment for people in employment,” Snyder wrote in his order. “For Michigan to be a leader in inclusive economic development, all State of Michigan departments and agencies that perform functions and provide loans and grants to local units of government and private entities must work together to ensure state government is open to everyone.”

The order exempts contractors or subcontractors that are religious organizations.

The ACLU of Michigan criticized the order, saying that its faith-based exemption is a “step backward.”

“That's a back door to discrimination against LGBT people,” Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the LGBT Project at the ACLU of Michigan, told Crain's Detroit Business. “Whether the governor had good intent … this kind of language is definitely a step backward.”

Kaplan called the order's language “highly problematic” and promised his group would lobby incoming Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, to amend it.

(Related: Ohio's outgoing Republican Governor John Kasich signs transgender protections order.)