Gay-rights lawyer burned himself to death to protest global warming

The winners of Brooklyn Law School's Legal Tech Innovators Competition Joseph Santiago and Christopher Aranguren. Eagle

Buckel said he wanted his death to lead to increased action, writing: "Honorable objective in life invites honorable goal in death".

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

A suicide note near the lawyer's remains said he had immolated himself using fossil fuel to symbolize the damage humans are doing to the Earth.

The New York Times said it received an emailed copy of the note, which also said, "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".

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the suicide of David Buckel, 60, but declined to comment further.

Buckel also served as marriage project director at Lambda Legal, a national organisation that fights for LGBT rights, where he was the strategist behind same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

Mr Buckel was the lead attorney in a case involving Brandon Teena, a transgender man murdered in the U.S. state of Nebraska.

He worked in composting groups for local projects and was also a lawyer who campaigned for gay rights.


A county sheriff was found negligent in the killing for his failure to protect Teena from his rapists - who returned and killed him once he went to authorities.

The activist's note was recovered in a manila envelope marked 'To The Police, ' which was found inside a shopping cart Buckel had discarded at the scene.

Teena was later portrayed by Hilary Swank in the 1999 film Boys Don't Cry.

Police closed off a large patch of lawn as bewildered parkgoers began to stream into the park.

"This is not new, as many have chose to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see".

Camilla Taylor - Lambda Legal's director of constitutional litigation and acting legal director - said in a statement: "The news of David's death is heartbreaking".

"We were a little freaked out", one jogger told reporters. "It took us a little while to process it", she said.

Some of his other more prolific cases include arguing against the Boys Scouts of America's ban on homosexual members, fighting for the creation of an LGBTQ club at a high school in Utah and helping a Pennsylvania woman win a lawsuit over being allowed to put "beloved life partner" as an epitaph over her deceased partner.

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