LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The nation's largest gay rights group is stepping up its opposition to a religious protection bill in Arkansas, with an ad targeting Silicon Valley while the state's Republican governor tries to lure more high tech industry.

The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday announced it was running a full-page ad in the San Jose Mercury News highlighting its opposition to a measure that would prohibit state and local government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs without a "compelling government interest." The bill could go before the state Senate as soon as Thursday afternoon.

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

The group argued the bill undermines Hutchinson's effort to attract more technology jobs, and noted Apple's opposition to the bill. Wal-Mart has also expressed concerns about the proposal, saying it sends the wrong message about its home state.


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