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The Lincoln Journal-Star, Gwyneth Roberts, Associated Press
ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JULY 31 - In this April 27, 2009 photo, Bambi Smith, left, and Sarah Fentress of Lincoln apply for the first same-sex marriage license amid several media cameras at the Pottawattamie County Courthouse in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

NEW YORK — Same-sex marriage is proving to be an awkward topic for Republican presidential hopefuls, as they seek strategies to win support from the right and center.

Numerous recent polls suggest a slim majority of Americans now support gay marriage. Support is highest among Democrats but is growing across the political spectrum even while religious conservatives remain largely opposed.

Analysts from both major parties say the result is a dilemma for leading GOP candidates. Most of them oppose same-sex marriage but tend to avoid raising the topic. The key question: If they trumpet their opposition to gay marriage to win conservative primary votes, do they risk losing moderate votes in a general election?

It's a tough topic to avoid. New York has just become the largest state to legalize gay marriage.