Both men are religious — [Joseph] Eppink is Episcopalian, [Ralph] Panelli is Roman Catholic — so a church wedding was necessary for them.
The couple booked the First Lutheran Church in Albany, Babcock’s place of worship. They said they would have loved to have the ceremony in Eppink’s church, but Bishop William Love of the Albany Episcopal Diocese has barred priests from participating in same-sex marriage ceremonies. The congregation supports the couple. The Sunday after the law was passed, “We had a coffee hour in front of the church, and there was this huge cheer from people. The church, the parish, they’re all very excited,” Eppink said.