A great day for the gays and the federalists: for the first time, gay marriage has been legalized in a state through the formal legislative process. Vermont's House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto of a gay marriage bill. On September 1, gays will be allowed to marry in Vermont. That brings to four the numbers of states where gay marriage is legal; Iowa's Supreme Court authorized same-sex unions on Friday; SSMs are also legal in Massachusetts (thanks to a court) and in Connecticut (court-ordered, too). Opponents of gay marriage have been fearing this very day for years. They're going to have to change the way they respond to the issue because they can no longer argue (only) that courts are imposing gay marriage by fiat. In the case of Vermont (and in the case of California, twice before), duly-elected state legislatures affirmatively gave consent to expand or revise the definition of civil marriage. (California's two legislative efforts were vetoed by the governor.)  Gay rights activists now have a new paradigm too.   More on this later.....

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