A Presbyterian minister has escaped punishment for officiating over the marriage unions of two lesbian couples.

The commission of the Presbytery of the Redwoods, ruled that the Rev. Janie Adams Spahr actions were justified within her “right of conscience” as a Christian when she performed the commitment ceremonies.

She was tried by the judicial body with the threat of a 30 year ban from the ministry.

Ms Spahr, who is also a lesbian activist, insists she was honouring her personal conscience and relationship with God when she officiated at the ceremonies. She told the Associated Press: “Faith communities have enormous responsibility to fight oppressive systems, certainly the founder of the Christian faith was someone who challenged all oppressive systems that kept people from being whole.”