Margaret Downey - Pennsylvania and California

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Margaret Downey
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Margaret Downey is a recognized Secular Humanist Officiant. After attending Humanist leadership classes at The Humanist Institute and training sessions through the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH), Council Chairman Paul Kurtz certified her to conduct marriages and other secular ceremonies. She regularly conducts weddings in California and Pennsylvania


Margaret Downey was born into a multicultural family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in the highly prejudiced southern society of the 1950s, Margaret became concerned about persecution at an early age. She has devoted her life to ending any and all discrimination against any and all peoples of the world.  

Margaret read literary works of Thomas Paine and Robert G. Ingersoll which enabled her to develop a keen sense of revolutionary thought. She became an openly declared Atheist and activist in her twenties. Free from the constraints of religious dogma and patriarchal systems, Margaret became involved with the feminist movement. She fought for basic rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of choice, personal family leave for working parents, equal pay and promotion opportunities for women.  

Due to concerns with children's health, Margaret was also involved in anti-smoking issues.  Being an activist for such controversial issues nearly cost Margaret her job twenty-five years ago, however, these initiatives are commonplace today. Even as a single mother Margaret was willing to jeopardize her income to demand respect for women, freedom of choice, freedom of expression and freedom from religious intrusion. 

In 1980 Margaret became a businesswoman when she established her own interior design service. This independence enabled her to become more involved in social issues. She is active in maintaining the Jeffersonian wall of church/state separation, freedom from religious intrusion, freedom of choice and death with dignity.   

Margaret founded the Freethought Society (FS) in 1993. FS has taken a strong stand against prayers in public schools, government sponsored invocations, placement of freethought literature in university and public libraries and the avocation of rational thinking. Through city proclamations, Margaret has established “Freethought Week” and “Thomas Paine Day” in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1997, she submitted a proclamation to the city of Philadelphia which subsequently recognized “Privacy Week”


Victoria de la Torre - California

victoria officiant 500pxVictoria de la Torre
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Victoria de la Torre is a Secular celebrant from the San Diego area of Southern California. She received her Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of San Diego, and has been a part of the Secular community since 2009. In past years, Victoria has served as Community Outreach Organizer of the Humanist Association of San Diego and received the 2014 Humanist of The Year Award at the Secular Conference of Southern California for her work with the homeless. She is also an advocate for Latino issues and outreach.