"It leads to a healthy work environment and you're able to retain and attract good-quality employees," McGrath said.
Maura Kistler, co-owner of Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville, said she supports equal employment opportunities because it's expected of business owners.
And it's the right thing to do, she said.
"I'd be a terrible business owner if I didn't reach out to everybody equally. It's wrong to discriminate, and it's also just bad business," Kistler said.
The message that HB2856 sends to the rest of the country is that West Virginia is a fair and tolerant state when it comes to workers' rights, she said.
Gay individuals wouldn't "have to worry about their job being terminated for a reason not related to job performance," Kistler said.
"If they're bad at their job, fire them," she said. "If they're gay, leave them alone."
Pies & Pints co-owner Rob Lindeman, who was asked why the restaurant supports nondiscrimination in employment, said, "the bigger question is, Why wouldn't we?"
Businesses are a reflection of society, Lindeman said. Discriminating against anyone because of their sexual orientation is not a business's place, he said.
"It's just the right thing to not discriminate. If someone is a good employee, they're a good employee," he said.
Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental right, said Angela Vance, legislative liaison for the state AARP. She said AARP supports HB2856 and urges "West Virginia to become more inclusive by adopting the proposed measure."
Jarrell said Fairness West Virginia is blown away by the support of the 200 businesses, nonprofits and religious congregations in the state.
"The businesses that have stepped forward to show their support have been overwhelming, and it has been progress all around the state," Jarrell said. "This act will give individuals comfort in knowing they aren't going to be singled out because of who they love, they are going to be looked at solely for how good they are at what they do."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.