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Climate protest lawyer sets himself on fire

16 April 2018

The body of a prominent gay rights lawyer and environmental activist has been found after he burned himself to death in protest against climate change.

The charred remains of 60-year-old David Buckel were found by passers-by in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

"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", another section read.

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

Buckel famously served as lead attorney in a lawsuit involving transgender murder victim Brandon Teena, who was raped and then killed in 1993. Hillary Swank won an Oscar for her portrayal of Swank in the 1999 film.

As senior counsel and marriage project director at Lambda Legal, a national LGBT civil rights organization, Buckel was a strategist behind notable same-sex marriage cases in Iowa and New Jersey that were key in advancing the marriage equality movement.

In his note, Buckel compared his macabre demise with the suicides of those who set themselves afire to protest China's occupation of Tibet.

It's a tragic shame that Buckel's life ended in such a way, knowing all the good he could have done for the world if he were still alive.

'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 news of David's death is heartbreaking". His death was pronounced by the police at 6:30 a.m. But he was best known as a champion of gay rights.

According to the Daily News, "a 2006 story in Gay City News said that Kaelber and Buckel were co-parenting their daughter with two women, Rona Vail and Cindy Broholm".

The 1987 Cornell Law School graduate argued during his career against the Boy Scout ban on gays and for the establishment of a gay student club at a Utah high school.

'There's no denying that sticking with renewable resources means a lot of elbow grease with pitchforks and shovels, ' he wrote in a 2016 article on the Botanic Garden Web site. David was a lovely human being who was universally kind to everyone at Lambda Legal, committed to his clients, and devoted to our work'.

Sommer added, "He was a very smart and methodical lawyer". He will be remembered for his kindness, devotion, and vision for justice, Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal's director of constitutional litigation and acting legal director said in a statement.

Climate protest lawyer sets himself on fire