The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday publicized a rule that will allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity among federal grantees, which includes adoption agencies.

The new rule undoes an Obama-era policy that went into effect in December 2016.

The Family Equality Council was among the first to criticize the administration.

“The American public overwhelmingly opposes allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away qualified parents simply because they are in a same-sex relationship,” Julie Kruse, the group's director, said in a statement.

LGBT law group Lambda Legal pointed out that the proposed rule change would have far-reaching consequences.

“HHS is charged with protecting the health and wellbeing of all people, but its actions today demonstrate once again its complete disregard for its mission,” said Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal's chief strategy officer and legal director. “Today’s proposed rule rolls back critical protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, and in doing so, puts at risk some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including LGBT people who are poor or experiencing homelessness; LGBT seniors and LGBT youth in out-of-home care, including foster children in need of loving families, people living with HIV, and many others.”

“Furthermore, HHS’s announcement that it will immediately cease enforcement of existing nondiscrimination protections, rather than adhering to the established procedures for changing regulations such as these, once again demonstrates the Trump administration’s utter disregard for the rule of law,” she added.

New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, criticized the new rule and called for passage of the Equality Act, a federal LGBT protections bill that cleared the House earlier this year.

“It is time for Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell to bring this bill up for a vote in the Senate to respond to the Administration's continued attacks on LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities,” said Nadler, a supporter of LGBT rights.

Earlier this year, HHS granted South Carolina a waiver to the Obama policy.

In a statement, the White House denied that the rule change would prohibit LGBT people from adopting.

“The President is in no way undermining his promise [to protect LGBT people] or preventing LGBT people from adopting,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said. “LGBT people can still adopt and that will not change. The Administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12’o clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities. The Federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.”