Led by Republican Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, 63 members of the Republican caucus have forced the Navy to table its decision to allow chaplains to officiate at gay marriage and civil union ceremonies on base once “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is lifted, the AP reported.

The military's ban on open gay service was repealed by Congress in December and the Pentagon has begun training for the policy's end, which is expected before the end of the year.

In an April 13 memorandum from chief of Chaplains Rear Admiral Mark Tidd, the Navy said chaplains would be allowed to officiate at ceremonies “consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization.”

In a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Akin and his colleagues warned that the Navy's plan violated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

“Mr. Secretary we find it unconscionable that the United States Navy, a federal entity sworn to 'preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States' believes it is their place alone to train and direct servicemembers to violate federal law,” the letter reads. “[We] agree with the vast majority of the American people that the preservation of marriage is critical to society's stability and is in the best interest of the American families.”

Akin is also expected to introduce on Wednesday an amendment to the annual defense budget that would forbid military chaplains from officiating over gay unions.

In a one-sentence statement released Tuesday, Tidd said his earlier decision has been “suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination.”