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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Why it matters: The 6-3 opinion marks a huge win for LGBT rights in a court with a clear conservative tilt. It was authored by conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, who was joined by the court's more liberal and swing members.

  • 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.

What they're saying: "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."
  • "When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it's no contest. Only the written word is law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit."

Read the ruling:

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.