Published: Dec 13, 2011 11:53 PM EST

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Rick Perry makes his opposition to gays serving openly in the military a central part of his White House bid. Mitt Romney is citing his opposition to same-sex marriage to convince evangelicals he shares their values. Newt Gingrich is pledging to be faithful to his wife. And many of the Republican presidential contenders plan to attend an anti-abortion forum on Wednesday in Iowa.
    
Three weeks before Iowa's leadoff caucuses, social issues that have been virtually dormant in the Republican presidential race are bursting to the forefront of the campaign.
    
While the economy is the top concern of most voters, the campaigns recognize that some put social issues above all else. In Iowa, that group has huge sway and could influence the outcome by coalescing around a particular candidate.

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