With the results of the election fresh on his mind, Pastor Ken Friendly called a meeting of black and white ministers in Anchorage, Alaska, to discuss forming a chapter of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The African-American pastor of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship said the group will ensure that his state's legislators and school board members hear the racially diverse voices of religious conservatives.

"I don't care if a person is polka-dot," said Friendly, who expects to move beyond an anti-gay marriage agenda to address helping children who are homeless or fatherless. "If they're concerned about the will of God being done, then that's who this group is for."

Fired up by pre-election summits and rallies and invigorated by election results, some African-American and Hispanic religious leaders say they're ready to join their white evangelical brethren to support traditional marriage and work on issues ranging from judicial nominations to improved adoption procedures. If successful, these racially diverse coalitions could influence the fate of a constitutional amendment on marriage as well as local, state, and national elections for years to come.

As the presidential election illustrated, even small demographic shifts can make an enormous political difference. President Bush significantly increased his share of the Hispanic vote nationally, thanks in part to values-laden issues. In Ohio, Bush nearly doubled his share of the black vote from 2000, to 16 percent, pushing him to a narrow state and national victory.

Many analysts attributed the Ohio vote to black churchgoers' opposition to gay marriage, which Bush also opposes.

Yet while some religious activists are willing to cross racial and denominational lines to oppose same-sex ...

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