Carolyn Hickerson, a self-identified evangelical Christian, has distributed nearly 10,000 yard signs in support of traditional marriage in the suburbs outside Nashville. On November 7, Tennessee voters will considerate a ballot initiative that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

"Based on the Scriptures, they should have an opinion on the family and on the sanctity of marriage and how important family is to our nation," she said.

Across the country, conservative religious activists continue to mobilize around the issue of marriage. The October25 decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court that said gay couples are entitled to the full rights and benefits of married couples has provided new momentum for efforts by religious conservatives to get out the vote.

"If you talk to a lot of leaders in the movement, they will tell you quite candidly that for their fundraising purposes … that's the number one issue," said Mark Rozell, professor of public policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "That's the big threat that activists at the grass roots feel."

The New Jersey ruling could provide an electoral boost for Republican candidates, especially because in recent weeks many religious conservatives had been voicing strong frustration with their usual allies in the GOP.

"The Republicans need a solid, enthusiastic turnout among those voters in order to be successful," Rozell told the PBS program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Religious conservatives have been a mainstay for the Republican coalition. In 2004, 78 percent of all evangelicals voted for President Bush — 40 percent of his total vote. But there have been several new cracks in the coalition.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion ...

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