An organisation dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels in the United States has announced that dozens of openly gay and lesbian candidates running in municipal and state legislative races across the country won their elections this week.

According to the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund, of the record 71 candidates endorsed by the group in 2007, at least 31 won their races on Tuesday, while 10 were elected earlier this year.

At least three more endorsed candidates received enough votes to advance to runoff elections.

71 supported candidates is a new record for the Victory Fund in an odd-numbered year ie: a year in which there are no scheduled federal elections.

At last month’s Labour party conference a campaign fund was announced, Dorothy’s List, which will support LGBT candidates standing to represent the party in Parliament.

The US the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund supports candidates from across the political divide.

Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe said the growing number of out candidates demonstrates the American gay community’s increasing involvement in electoral politics.

“This is the path to change. We are not content to sit on the sidelines and hope that others do the right thing for our community.

“We will step up and lead the fight for a more equal and fair America, and we will win,” Wolfe said.

The Victory Fund expects to endorse more than 100 candidates in 2008.

Six US states still have no openly LGBT elected officials at any level of government: Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Tennessee came off the list this year when Keith Durbin was elected to the Nashville City Council.

Since its founding in 1991, the Victory Fund has helped to grow the number of out officials from 49 to more than 380.