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Published May 21, 2013, 10:06 AM

Retiring Minnesota justice glad Legislature tackled marriage

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Outgoing state Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson says he's relieved the Legislature and not the courts made the call on same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Outgoing state Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson says he's relieved the Legislature and not the courts made the call on same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

"Whichever way this issue came down, I am so glad it was decided across the street from us in the Legislature, because that's where it should have been decided and it should have been resolved," Anderson told Minnesota Public Radio.

Anderson, who's stepping down as an associate justice at the end of the month because he's reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, said the legislative process is better than the courts for hashing out tough issues.

Courts will step in and make those difficult decisions "when the other branches of government punt," but he said the public is "more involved and the debate is more robust" when legislators make those calls.

Along those lines, Anderson predicted the rulings in two closely watched same-sex marriage cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court will reflect caution and a respect for states' rights. At issue are California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and a key section of the national Defense of Marriage Act that blocks federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

He said letting stand lower court decisions that declared those laws unconstitutional — and leaving it up to the states to decide what they want to do about gay marriage — would be a conservative, non-activist approach consistent with this Supreme Court's support for states' rights.

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