Presbyterian churches ignore censure of S.F. minister who married same-sex couples

GENERIC: California, Gay, Marriage, Union, Homosexual, Same Sex (borders UPDATED Jan. 2010, -tjr)

(CBS/AP) SAN ANSELMO, Calif. - Representatives of dozens of West Coast Presbyterian churches are defying their denomination's highest court by refusing to censure a retired minister who married same-sex couples in 2008.

The Presbyterian Church's highest court found the Rev. Jane Spahr of San Francisco guilty of misconduct in 2010 for officiating at same-sex weddings when they were legal in California. The court previously ruled that clergy could only bless same-sex unions, but not perform weddings.

Spahr appealed the decision but lost the battle before the church's General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission in February.

On Tuesday, representatives of Northern California Presbyterian churches voted overwhelmingly to ignore the commission and oppose Spahr's official censure.

The Marin Independent Journal reports Spahr's supporters celebrated with her at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo.

"Love and justice have come together here," Spahr said after the vote, according to the newspaper. "I think this is going to help and stop the violence. This is a place that said yes, yes to our love."