With a court decision in Iowa, an overwhelming legislative victory in Vermont, and a successful vote in the Council of the District of Columbia to recognize gay marriages from elsewhere, gay rights groups say that their newfound momentum this week could carry into other states. With courts no longer the only route to achieve same sex marriage rights, activists hope to convince legislatures in left-leaning states like New York, New Jersey, Maine, and New Hampshire, to follow Vermont's lead. And Iowa's surprise decision means that the next state to legalize gay marriage could truly be anywhere, not just on the coasts. Opponents of gay marriage have taken notice as well, with some conceding that the tide may be turning against them. "It's a bad day for the country," the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, a group established to fight gay marriage, told The New York Times. "There is a palpable sense that something has changed and people need to get active."