Defendants offer no persuasive authority in support of a free speech exception (be it creative, artistic, or otherwise) to anti-discrimination laws applied to public accommodations.Defendants' strongest constitutional argument turned on the Washington state constitution's free exercise clause, which gives greater protection than the 1st Amendment. However the court rejected defendants' claims, concluding that even if the laws impose a substantial burden on defendants' religious exercise, the state has a compelling interest in combating discrimination in public accommodations. The court went on to reject defendants' argument that a more narrowly tailored approach would allow defendants to deny goods and services on the basis of sexual orientation and merely refer the customer to a non-discriminating business. The court said: "This rule would, of course, defeat the purpose of combatting discrimination...."
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson welcomed the decision, saying: "The law is clear: If you choose to provide a service to couples of the opposite sex, you must provide the same service to same-sex couples."