Lawyer burns himself to death in climate protest

David Buckel a volunteer for Brooklyn's Added Value Red Hook Community Farm was featured in an educational <a hre

Prominent gay rights lawyer David S. Buckel died Saturday morning after setting himself on fire in a NY park as part of an environmental protest.

The body of gay civil rights attorney David S. Buckel was discovered in Prospect Park this weekend.

The Daily News reports that Buckel left a suicide note in a shopping cart near his body that said he hoped his death was "honorable" and "might serve others".

"Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result - my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves", the letter continued.

Buckel had worked as the marriage project director for famed Lambda Legal, the US's first legal organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Buckel makes arguments in favor of gay marriage during oral arguments seeking marriage for same sex couples at the New Jersey Supreme Court in Trenton, New Jersey on February 15, 2006. Because of Buckel, Teena's family won additional damages from their local law enforcement agency over its negligence.

Friends said that after he left the organization, Mr. Buckel became involved in environmental causes, which he alluded to in his note as the reason he chose to end his life by self-immolation with fossil fuels.

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His final note said he had "good health to the final moment", but wanted others to be spurred to action, according to the Times: "Honorable objective in life invites honorable goal in death". The story was later turned into the film 1999 film Boys Don't Cry starring Hilary Swank, who earned an Academy Award for her performance as Teena.

"David was an indefatigable attorney and advocate, and also a dedicated and loving friend to so many".

He argued against the Boy Scout ban on gay, fought for the right of gay high school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club and helped a Pennsylvania woman win a lawsuit allowing her to put "beloved life partner" on the headstone of her partner. In a statement, Camilla Taylor, Lambda's acting legal director, called Buckel's death "heartbreaking".

"Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather", the note said.

"His thoughtful and engaging advocacy broke through many stubborn misconceptions and showed it was possible and necessary for our movement to speak up for bullied, ostracized LGBT young people". David helped create Lambda Legal's focus on LGBT youth. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in Varnum v. Brien in 2009 that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional, a decision that made Iowa the third state to legalize same-sex marriage.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those who loved David". "A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life...."

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