Prominent gay rights attorney dead after apparent self-immolation

Lester Mason
April 16, 2018

A well-known U.S. lawyer has died after setting himself on fire in a protest against climate change. He left a suicide note saying that his death reflected what humans were doing to the planet, it was reported.

Buckel wrote that pollution was ravaging the planet and hoped his death would serve as a symbol.

Buckel was the lead attorney in a lawsuit that involved Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska. He won several trailblazing cases, including a 2005 case that led to same-sex marriage legalization in Iowa and a 2006 case establishing equal financial and legal rights for gay couples in New Jersey. In normally vibrant Prospect Park, where Buckel ended his life, police and firefighters gathered around what the Times calls a "grim scene".

"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".

"I am David Buckel, and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide".

Buckel set himself on fire with fossil fuels. Police said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30am.

Buckel apparently left the note in a shopping cart in close proximity to where his remains would be found the following day.


'It's a very important case, not only within Nebraska but nationally, ' Buckel told the Daily Nebraskan newspaper in 2001, after helping win an $80,000 judgment.

He said that privilege comes with the suffering of others.

He also fought for the right of gay high-school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club, and argued against discrimination in the Boy Scoutss of America and the military. He was the senior organics recovery coordinator for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's NYC Compost Project.

"He deserves tremendous thanks for recognizing this was in many ways at the heart of what it meant to be gay for many Americans and making it a priority", said Susan Sommer, a former attorney for Lambda Legal "I learned so much from him about the emotional center of what it means for a gay person not to be able to have all the protections for the person they love and that it's worth fighting for", she added. "He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory".

"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, ostracised LGBT young people", she said in a statement to the Huffington Post.

"David was a brilliant legal visionary".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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