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Today, Marylanders will head to the polls to vote in their primary election.

While Maryland has been the focus of attention for Blacks because of the high profile race for U.S. Senator involving Black Republican Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele and former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, unbeknownst to many is that fact that there are two openly lesbian and gay Black candidates running for statewide office as well, a first in the state of Maryland.

Running for the House of Delegates in the 43rd District is Mary Washington, a Black lesbian.

Mary Washington earned a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1997 and taught sociology at Lehigh University. Dr. Washington brings to public service a highly informed approach to community organizing and progressive politics.  She was the Housing Stat Director for the Baltimore Housing Department before serving as the Interim Director of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.

In Maryland’s District 44, the Reverend Anthony McCarthy is running for the House of Delegates. 

For more than a decade Anthony has been a constant voice in journalism, public policy circles, and Maryland’s progressive faith community. Whether as the host of three award-winning radio talk shows, as an aide to numerous national and local political leaders, or as a national speaker and lecturer on contemporary political and social issues Anthony McCarthy has been engaged in informing, empowering and improving his community.

As a journalist Anthony was the youngest Editor-in-Chief of the historic AFRO-American Newspapers. He is the former associate publisher of The Baltimore Times.

In addition, Anthony is an ordained minister as serves as an associate pastor at Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore. He has officiated at numerous inter-faith events and works to bridge denominational and social differences within the contemporary church family. He has addressed religious oriented conferences and panels dealing with issues of race, sexual orientation, and liberation theology throughout the country.

While their counterparts running in the highly contested and profiled Senate race will probably walk away with all of the media tomorrow, it should be noticed that these two have quietly made not only LGBT history but Black history as well.

Black candidates running for office, Democratic or Republican isn’t breaking news anymore, however, not one, but two, Black openly gay candidates is certainly cause to celebrate.  Whether or not they win their races, they have definitely raised the bar for Black candidates around the country.