President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans by federal contractors took effect Wednesday.

Anne Rung, administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said the order, signed last year, “not only ensures that LGBT Americans have a more inclusive environment to work and flourish, but also better positions our contracting community to attract and retain the best talent.”

On the Office of Management and Budget blog, Rung noted that a majority of contractors have policies prohibiting LGBT discrimination.

“Still, no federal law adequately protects LGBT workers,” she wrote. “In too many sectors and too many states, LGBT workers can be fired or not promoted simply because of who they are and who they love. The executive order makes clear that the Federal Government will not do business with anyone who discriminates against LGBT workers.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which fights for gay rights, praised Obama’s action.

“On the road to full equality, it’s important that the taxpayer-funded LGBT employees of federal contractors also be protected from discrimination,” said HRC spokesman Fred Sainz.

“It bears mentioning,” he added, “that this administration has been absolutely stellar in helping make LGBT more equal. Prior to this administration coming into office, LGBT people were largely in the wilderness where federal treatment and recognition are concerned.”