Under the Dome

Dome: Groups plan same-sex marriage vigil

March 24, 2013 

Same-sex marriage supporters will hold vigils across North Carolina and the rest of the country on Tuesday, including a Triangle event in Raleigh. The vigils coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments Tuesday and Wednesday on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop. 8.

The California proposition amended that state’s constitution to recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the only valid marriage. Voters in North Carolina approved a similar amendment last May.

Tuesday’s event in Raleigh will be a one-hour candlelight vigil in front of the Wake County courthouse on Fayetteville Street, featuring speakers and music. Scheduled speakers include Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, state Rep. Marcus Brandon, and former Methodist minister Jimmy Creech.

It’s being organized by Equality N.C., which led the fight against the constitutional amendment.

There are opposing opinions on what impact a Supreme Court ruling would have on the law in North Carolina and other states that ban same-sex marriage.

Former S.C. Senator comes to Raleigh

Former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, the chairman of the Heritage Foundation, the Washington-based conservative think tank, will be in Raleigh this week meeting with groups, holding focus groups and engaging in other outreach activities.

DeMint was a leading figure in the tea party movement until he stepped down from the Senate earlier this year to take over the Heritage Foundation.

Three named to State Board of Education

Gov. Pat McCrory has named three people to the State Board of Education:

A.L. “Buddy” Collins is a Kernersville attorney who serves on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. Collins, who contributed $1,000 to McCrory’s campaign, will replace Christine Greene on the board.

Olivia Oxendine of Lumberton is a professor in the Department of School Administration and Counseling at UNC-Pembroke. She previously served as curriculum director for the Hoke County School system. She will replace Shirley Harris.

Marcella Ramirez Savage is a member of the Union County Board of Education. She serves as marketing director for Chick-fil-A.. She will replace Melissa Barlett on the board.

The governor also announced three appointments to the Board of Travel and Tourism:

He appointed Art Schools, the mayor of Emerald Isle as the rural representative to the board. Schools has worked as a CPA and a U.S. Air Force Hospital Administrative officer. He will replace Vimal Kolappa.

Also appointed was Sabrina Bengel, the president of New Bern Tours & Convention Services. Bengel, who contributed $1,000 to McCrory’s campaign, is an appointee of Senate president Phil Berger. She replaces Chris Cavanaugh on the board.

McCrory also named Vinay Patel, president and CEO of SREE Hotels to the board. Patel, who gave McCrory’s campaign $8,000, replaces Susan Spangle.

Prison officials receive promotions

Two prison officials have been promoted in the state Department of Public Safety.

Joe Prater will be deputy commissioner for administration and George Solomon will be director of prisons. They were named by Correction Commissioner David Guice.

Prater has been acting prisons director since January, and before that he was assistant section chief for prisons. He spent eight years in community corrections, and before that worked in local government and private sector jobs.

Solomon supervised prisons in the Piedmont and central part of the state, and was also a prison superintendent, deputy warden, assistant chief of security and correctional officer.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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