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etvfutures.com April 22, 2018


Gay rights lawyer immolates self in New York City in ecology protest

15 April 2018, 10:27 | Opal Carroll

Officials investigate the scene and carry away the man's body inside Prospect Park

Officials investigate the scene and carry away the man's body inside Prospect Park

A lawyer who burned himself to death in a grisly protest against ecological destruction was a nationally known gay rights advocate and lead attorney in a famous case involving transgender murder victim Brandon Teena.

In a handwritten note left near his body, Mr Buckel said his suicide was a "protest" and added: "I apologise to you for the mess". "Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death", Buckel wrote in the email to the Times.

He'd been doing the work for years - Buckel worked on Brandon v. County of Richardson, where the sheriff's office in 2001 was found liable for failing to protect Teena.

Buckel, who had recently turned his energies to environmental causes, is known for directing major same-sex marriage cases in Iowa and New Jersey in his role as marriage project director for Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization that promotes civil rights for the LGBT community.

"Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather", Buckel wrote in his email to the Times.

Hours before his death, Mr Buckel emailed a copy of his suicide note to several media outlets. "Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early as a result - my death by fossil fuels reflects what we are doing to ourselves".

Offered Camilla Taylor, Lamba Legal's director of constitutional litigation and acting legal director in a statement, 'This is a tragic loss for our Lambda Legal family and for the social justice movement'.

"My name is David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide", the Brooklyn resident wrote.

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David Buckel killed himself by lighting himself on fire Saturday in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Buckel said he wanted his death to lead to increased action. "We will honor his life by continuing his fight for a better world", Taylor added.

"Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death", he concluded.

More recently, Buckel worked as an urban gardener and ecologist with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, helping run what he called the largest composting program in the country to use only renewable sources of energy.

Teena's life was later adapted into the 1999 film, "Boys Don't Cry".

'Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard'.

The Times also reports that Susan Sommer, a former attorney for Lambda Legal, said Buckel was "one of the architects of the freedom to marry and marriage equality movement". "He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory".



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