A San Francisco lesbian who has been a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry for 22 years has finally won her battle to be ordained.

Lisa Larges, a deacon at Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church, has had her ordination blocked twice because of her sexual orientation.

On Tuesday night, the San Francisco Presbytery voted 156 to 138 to ordain her. The vote followed hours of debate.

Her appointment can still be appealed, but if it is not, she will be formally ordained.

In a statement released after the vote, Larges said: “Change is happening in the churches. People are realising that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long functioned as contributing members of their faith traditions. It is time to tell the truth – we are all created in God’s image.”

The Presbyterian Church has a constitution with explicit standards for ordination and requires either fidelity in a marriage between a man and a woman or chastity.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are a “handful” of openly gay and lesbian ministers in the Presbytery but they came out after being ordained.

If Tuesday’s decision is not appealed, Larges will be the first out gay person to be ordained.