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'Boys Don't Cry' Lawyer Dies by Setting Himself on Fire in Park
15 April 2018, 10:28 | Erica Roy
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A prominent LGBT rights lawyer and environmental advocate was found dead in NY on Saturday (April 14), after reportedly setting himself on fire using fossil fuel in a protest against ecological destruction.
His charred remains were found just after sunrise on Saturday (Sunday Australian time) in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City.
Buckel, 60, who was also a green activist involved in various environmental causes, left a note explaining that the act of self-immolation was a protest against ecological destruction by fossil fuels. "Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death", Buckel wrote in the email to the Times.
In 1993 her served as the lead attorney for the lawsuit involving the murder of transgender teenager Brandon Teena.
Buckel was a senior counsel and director of the Marriage Project for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ advocacy group.
"Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather", Buckel wrote.
"My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves", Buckel wrote.
The Timesreports that one of the cases Buckel spearheaded, Nabozny v. Podlesny, was the first time a federal court ruled that schools have an obligation to prevent the bullying of gay students, saidCamilla Taylor, acting legal director at Lambda Legal.
Buckel left a suicide note in a shopping cart not far from his body and also emailed it to several news media outlets, according to The New YorkTimes.
Buckel lived near the park and was an avid community leader. "We will honor his life by continuing his fight for a better world", Taylor added. "He was a attractive human being who was universally kind to everyone at Lambda Legal, committed to his clients, and devoted to our work".
"Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death", he concluded.
He represented Brandon Teena's mother in a lawsuit against the New England sheriff which notified Teena's rapists that he had pressed charges and did nothing to protect him from being killed.
'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'.
Susan Sommer, a former attorney for Lambda Legal and now the general counsel for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, also reacted to Buckel's death.
In a statement, the organization said he had won several key court victories including in the Lewis v Harris case, in which the New Jersey Supreme Court recognized the harm done to same-sex couples and their children from being excluded from the rights and responsibilities of marriage. "It took us a little while to process it".
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