Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America now has a 5th major Supreme Court ruling on LBGTQ rights, this time based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Why it matters: Before today's ruling, only about half of U.S. states had comprehensive laws that protect people from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Title VII explicitly prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," but it did not specifically name sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes.

The 6-3 decision's majority opinion was authored by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Justices Alito, Thomas and Kavanaugh dissented.)

  • "An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex," Gorsuch wrote.
  • "Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
  • "Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. ... But the limits of the drafters' imagination supply no reason to ignore the law's demands."
  • Read the opinion.

Between the lines: The four big previous LBGTQ rights cases had majority opinions written by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, the N.Y. Times notes.

  • 1996, Romer v. Evans: "Struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that had banned laws protecting gay men and lesbians."
  • 2003, Lawrence v. Texas: "Struck down laws making gay sex a crime."
  • 2013, United States v. Windsor: "Overturned a ban on federal benefits for married same-sex couples."
  • 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges: "Struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to such unions."

The bottom line: Millions more Americans will go to bed tonight with legal protections that didn't exist when they woke up.

Go deeper

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Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.

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