A gay marriage law approved by Vermont lawmakers in April takes effect on Tuesday, but officials are not expecting a rush to the altar.

Vermont is the first state to legalize gay marriage legislatively, instead of by court order.

Gay marriage proponents in the Legislature managed to cobble together the bare minimum of votes needed to override a veto by Republican Governor Jim Douglas in April.

In vetoing the gay marriage bill, Douglas said the legislation failed to end the discrimination faced by gay and lesbian couples.

“This legislation does not address the inequalities espoused by proponents,” he said in a statement. “Regardless of whether the term marriage is applied, federal benefits will still be denied to same-sex couples in Vermont. And states that do not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions will also deny state rights and responsibilities [to gay couples].”

Vermont's move comes nine years after the state became the first to offer gay and lesbian couples civil unions at the behest of the Vermont Supreme Court.

In 2000, gay and lesbian couples flooded into Vermont; out-of-state couples made up nearly 70 percent of the 7,000 civil unions performed in the first year.

But the New England gay marriage landscape has altered drastically since then. Five out of six New England states – Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut – have legalized gay nuptials. Even gay couples from New York, Vermont's largest neighbor to its west, where marriage is not available, are unlikely to take advantage of the new law because the option has been available for nearly a year in nearby Connecticut. Other New Yorkers remain hopeful that a widely-supported gay marriage bill held up in the state Senate will finally become law.

“We've got about a dozen gay marriages happening at the lodge between Sept. 1 and the end of the year,” Willie Docto, co-owner of the Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury, told the Rutland Herald. “I think a lot of people have already gotten married in Massachusetts or Connecticut over the last few years. … It was a special thing when civil unions came along in 2000.

“We're not expecting a huge rush,” Greg Trulson, Docto's civil union partner, said. “We're not the only place that gay and lesbian couples can have their union legally recognized anymore.”

Still, gay and lesbian Vermonters will be celebrating and marrying on Tuesday. Several congregations will be offering renewal ceremonies for both gay and straight couples. Many straight couples decided to renew their vows to show solidarity with gay and lesbian couples.

The Rev. Erica Baron, who has two Unitarian Universalist congregations, told the paper that nearly one-quarter of the couples scheduled to renew their vows next week are straight.

“This isn't just about gay and lesbian couples,” she said. “Everyone can find joy in this day.”