Prominent gay rights attorney commits protest suicide over environmental issues

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NEW YORK — Who knows what goes on in the mind of a suicide victim?  A prominent gay rights attorney took his own life in New York over the weekend, but he made sure we all know why he did it— and it's not for reasons you might think!

David S. Buckel sacrificed himself for the environment— not LGBT issues!

The 60-year-old left a handwritten suicide note and sent e-mails to several media outlets before setting himself on fire in Prospect Park. Part of the note reads: "Pollution ravages our planet [...] most humans breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels and many die early deaths as a result."

Buckel writes: "My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves."

Another note sent to the New York Daily News says: "I am David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide. I apologize for the mess."

Buckel made a name for himself arguing some major same-sex marriage cases in Iowa and New Jersey for a non-profit civil rights organization.  He also worked on a lawsuit on behalf of Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was raped and murdered in Nebraska in 1993.  Actress Hillary Swank won a best actress Oscar for portraying Teena in the movie, Boys Don`t Cry.

More recently, Buckel had turned his energies to environmental causes.

Lambda Legal, the non-profit he worked with, issued a statement after Buckel's body was identified:

 "We have lost a movement leader, a colleague, and a friend.  We will honor his life by continuing his fight for a better world."

It's easy to understand fighting for what you believe is right. It's hard to understand sacrificing your life for the fight.

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