The Democratic National Committee has agreed delegate selection rules that should see more gay and lesbian representation at the next party convention.

The set-piece convention will pick the Democratic candidate for the next presidential election in August 2008.

The presidential election will be held in November that year, with the new president taking office on January 20th, 2009.

The Republicans will also have to pick a new candidate, as the Constitution states that a president may only serve two terms in office.

With Vice President Dick Cheney out of the running in 2008 due to heart problems, that means the nominations of both parties are up for grabs.

Many pundits name Hilary Clinton as the most likely choice for the Democratic party’s nomination.

“Although these new rules will ultimately increase the number of LGBT delegates in 2008, the rule has broader significance,” said Jo Wyrick, director of National Stonewall Democrats (NSD), the national organisation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender party activists.

“These rules will move state parties into deeper partnerships with LGBT Democrats that will last well beyond the 2008 convention.

“These partnerships will ultimately increase the voice of LGBT Democrats within important policy discussions and party affairs.”

Gay and lesbians are under-represented at both party conventions, and the new rules will compel all state Democratic parties to take action.

Over the next two years, NSD will provide assistance to state parties and will run training programmes for LGBT delegates to ensure they can participate fully.