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June 10, 2004

Press Release
Please Distribute Widely

Contact: Lori Martin
Scouting for All
State Director of Pennsylvania
Northeastern Region Spokesperson

Scouting for All Honors Margaret Downey With Its Fran Crawford Rainbow Award

Scouting for All announces that Margaret Downey of Chester County PA, Founder and President of Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ASDN) is the recipient of the 2004 Fran Crawford Volunteer of the Year Rainbow Award.

Barry C. Lawrence of the Scouting for All Board of Directors, and Lori Martin, Scouting for All State Director of Pennsylvania/Northeastern Region Spokesperson, will present Ms. Downey with the award on Friday evening, June 11, 2004, at a celebration at the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia.

Those previously honored with the Scouting for All Fran Crawford Volunteer of the Year Rainbow Award include humanist and peace activist Fran Crawford of Sonoma County CA; Eagle Scout Scott Pusillo; Eagle Scout Mike Montalvo; New York City police officer Edgar Rodriguez; the Chartering Organization, Officers, and Parents Committee of Pack 30, Boy Scouts of America, Berkeley CA; and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Ms. Downey has been active in opposing religious and sexual-orientation discrimination by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since December 1991, when she filed a discrimination case against BSA through the Human Relations Commission of Pennsylvania. After nearly eight years she lost her case against BSA. In the U.S. Supreme Court case James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America(June 2000), BSA declared itself "private" to avoid the question of open membership, thus ending her appeal. Undeterred, she has continued her tireless quest to expose the harmful effects BSA discrimination has on vulnerable boys and their families, representing the issue before the United Nations and other government entities, writing nationally published articles on the matter, welcoming into her home various groups and individuals seeking to change BSA's membership policy, and acting to raise consciousness of the harmful effects of this policy on children in the Philadelphia area. In addition, her efforts through ADSN are responsible for convincing movie producer Steven Speilberg to disassociate himself from BSA.

Ms. Downey credits the multicultural family she grew up in with sparking her lifelong concern with prejudice and her desire to end any and all discrimination against any and all peoples of the world. She is an active feminist, an advocate for children's health, and an ardent proponent of the Jeffersonian wall of church/state separation. A free-lance journalist, she has authored city proclamations honoring the memory of Thomas Paine in Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York, PA; as well as Cherry Hill NJ and Garden Grove CA.

As ADSN's founder and president, since 1995 Ms. Downey has represented the interest of the nontheist community at several United Nations conferences and spoke at the United Nations Freedom of Religion and Belief meeting in New York City. She attended the 2001 United Nations Freedom of Religion and Belief Conference in Madrid, Spain. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, and a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, The Humanist Institute, the Thomas Paine
National Historical Association, Advisory Board Member of the Robert Green Ingersoll Museum, and the Atheist Alliance. In 2002,she became the first "Secular Humanist Celebrant" in Pennsylvania, performing godless weddings and naming and funeral ceremonies. She also has been a guest speaker on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and Radio Times, and has been featured on radio programs in China, Texas, South Carolina, California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Georgia.

Scouting for All is a non-profit advocacy and educational organization working to end discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America and promote positive alternatives for kids.

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