Greg - I think what makes much of a Judge's job difficult and important, is the ability to weigh all of those factors.
It's obvious that the intent of these people was to offend. They can call it whatever they want, and try to hide behind the 1st Amendment and what not, but the reality was these are a "group" of people willfully engaging in the practice of advocating hate.
If their "religious" belief was that their God dislikes homosexuals, I'm sure the could find a way to make that known without using terminology that any reasonable person would associate with hate speech.
I don't think it matters where it happened, either. I see these guys every once in a rare while on busy street corners around town. Their message is equally reprehensible there. Talk about trolling.
The fact that they demonstrated where they did, indicates just how calculated and purposeful their efforts were, and shredded any chance at having their claims of protected, religious speech taken seriously.
Given all of this, I think it's absolutely correct to determine their "speech" was not protected, and that their acts were bordering on criminal. Civil cases have different criteria for "guilt" - I don't know if guilt is really what's being tried or evaluated in a civil proceeding. Without a doubt, they were culpable for their actions, and should pay accordingly.
So, about tort reform......