Fairness lobbied for a state bill this year, sponsored by former leader and current Delegate Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson. The bill never made it out of committee, despite considerable discussion in the halls of the state Capitol.
Skinner, the first openly gay delegate in state history, thanked Rockefeller for sponsoring the national legislation. He called on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to do the same.
"I think it certainly puts the pressure on Sen. Manchin to do the right thing," Skinner said.
"I would hate for him to be the only Democrat to not be a co-sponsor, especially since it's bi-partisan," he said later in the interview.
Following Rockefeller's sponsorship, Manchin is one of four Democrats in the U.S. Senate not to publicly pledge support for the bill. A Manchin representative did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Fairness says 61 percent of West Virginia residents support basic protection from discrimination in the workplace for lesbian and gay workers, citing a 2010 poll.