C++ FAQ Celebrating Twenty-One Years of the C++ FAQ!!!
(Click here for a personal note from Marshall Cline.)
Section 8:
[8.2] What happens if you assign to a reference?

You change the state of the referent (the referent is the object to which the reference refers).

Remember: the reference is the referent, so changing the reference changes the state of the referent. In compiler writer lingo, a reference is an "lvalue" (something that can appear on the left hand side of an assignment operator).