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Navy changes course on same-sex weddings

WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy backtracked on allowing chaplains to conduct same-sex marriages in military chapels after GOP lawmakers charged it would violate federal law.

Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, the chief of chaplains, said he was withdrawing a memo advising Navy clergy they could perform same-sex weddings in accordance with state laws, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Five states and the District of Columbia permit gay marriage.

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Tidd said the policy needs further legal review. Republican critics said the change would violate the Defense of Marriage Act.

Navy officials said the policy could still take effect once President Barack Obama formally ends the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

Republicans are expected to introduce amendments Wednesday to the Defense Authorization bill, addressing the issue of gays in the military. One sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., would specifically bar same-sex weddings in military chapels and ban chaplains from performing them.

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