President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE said the White House would "live" with the Supreme Court's ruling earlier on Monday that gay and transgender employees are protected by civil rights laws against employer discrimination.
The Trump administration had argued on behalf of a group of employers in the case, arguing that the Civil Rights Act did not cover gay or transgender employees.
"I’ve read the decision, and some people were surprised," Trump said. "But they’ve ruled and we live with their decision.
"That’s what it’s all about. We live with the decision of the Supreme Court," the president said of the 6-3 decision, which irked many conservatives in part because Trump-appointed Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion Five revealing quotes from Supreme Court abortion case MORE sided with the majority.
"Very powerful. Very powerful decision actually," Trump added. "But they have so ruled."
The court ruled earlier Monday that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of "sex," applies to gay and transgender people. The decision was one of the most highly anticipated of the Supreme Court term and came in the middle of Pride Month.
It was legal in dozens of states to fire workers based on their sexual orientation prior to Monday's ruling. Gorsuch, who Trump nominated to the court in 2017, wrote the opinion for the six-member majority.
"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender," Gorsuch wrote. "The answer is clear. 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. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
Gorsuch was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and liberal Justices Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Supreme Court denies lobster fishers' bid to halt environmental protections What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? MORE, Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg Women of Leadership Award given to Queen Elizabeth What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion MORE, Elena KaganElena KaganPotential Biden Supreme Court pick joins fray over Trump Jan. 6 subpoena Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Why did courts hit pause for Trump — but not Texas abortions? MORE and Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion MORE. Justices Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoFive revealing quotes from Supreme Court abortion case The Supreme Court's criminal justice blind spot How religious liberty was distorted in the age of COVID-19 MORE, Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasRoberts and Roe: The Supreme Court considers a narrow question on abortion Five revealing quotes from Supreme Court abortion case How religious liberty was distorted in the age of COVID-19 MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE, another Trump nominee, dissented from the decision.
Civil rights groups and LGBT advocates celebrated Monday's landmark decision. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE called it a "momentous step forward for our country."
Conservatives expressed frustration at the court's ruling, arguing that the judiciary had stepped into legislative territory. Some singled out Gorsuch in particular for criticism.
"Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards," said Carrie Severino, president of the conservative organization Judicial Crisis Network.
The decision came just days after the Health and Human Services Department finalized a rule that excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act.
It's one of several acts by the administration that has set back LGBT rights, even though the president insisted during the 2016 campaign that he would be an advocate for the community.
The administration has pushed to end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world, and Trump formally recognized Pride Month last year for the first time, though he has yet to do so this year.
Trump also oversaw the Pentagon’s policy barring most transgender people from serving in the military unless they serve under their biological sex.
That policy took effect last year following a series of court battles.