Arkansas governor says he’d sign anti-LGBT religious protection bill

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.)

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) AP

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.)AP

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he would sign into law a religious protection measure that opponents have said would open the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Hutchinson told reporters Thursday that he supports the latest version of a bill prohibiting state and local government from infringing upon someone’s religious beliefs without a “compelling government interest.”

The Senate could take up the legislation as soon as Thursday afternoon.

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Hutchinson said he believes the measure balances concerns about protecting religious beliefs and worries about discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, announced earlier it was running a newspaper ad aimed at Silicon Valley and argued that the bill hurts Hutchinson’s efforts to lure high-tech companies to Arkansas.

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