(CNN) – There are 123 openly gay people running for public office this election year, a record number according to the Victory Fund which finances openly gay candidates.
They include David Cicilline who is running in Rhode Island for the 1st Congressional District seat. The former mayor of Providence, R.I. could become just the seventh openly gay person to serve in Congress, and only the third to be elected for the first time as an openly gay candidate.
Victory Fund also finances candidates like Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania, 8th Congressional District) who is not gay and is an Iraq War veteran. Murphy fought for an amendment to repeal the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell' policy in May.
Some of these races are important to the gay community not just because the candidates are gay, but because they are in states where legislation that affects gays is up for debate. Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, Washington and Colorado have state legislative and gubernatorial elections that could determine whether bills will pass granting gays domestic partnership benefits.
"If Democrats and openly LGBT candidates do well, we could see an attempt to establish civil unions in Colorado and full marriage equality in Maryland," the Victory Fund told supporters on election night. "Washington's LGBT state legislative caucus could attempt to convert their strong civil unions law into a marriage equality law, and the New York State Senate makeup will determine whether state organizers will make another run at winning marriage rights there."