David S. Buckel, a prominent attorney
who championed LGBT rights, died Saturday in an apparent protest
suicide. He was 60.
Buckel's burned body was found by a
passerby in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, The New York Times
reported. A manila envelope marked “To the police” included a
note outlining Buckel's protest. The note was also emailed to the
“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing
inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather,” the note stated.
“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.”
Many friends told the Times that
Buckel had become an environmental activist in recent years.
As marriage project director at Lambda
Legal, Buckel helped win marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples
in Iowa and New Jersey. Other notable cases involved a gay Wisconsin
high school student who sued his school district for failing to
protect him from bullies and a transgender man who was brutally raped
and murdered after authorities failed to intervene.
“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,” Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal's acting legal
director, said in a statement.
Buckel and his partner Terry Kaelber
co-parented a daughter, Hannah, with another couple, Rona Vail and