Barnich, Texas's first openly gay city court judge, died in
Houston on Monday from diabetes-related complications. He
appointed to the court by Mayor Lee Brown in 1999, serving
on the bench until October 2007, when he resigned due
to failing health, according to the Houston Chronicle.
As an attorney,
Barnich was also the founder of the Bar Association for
Human Rights and volunteered pro bono service, especially
for gay rights and HIV-related cases. He was also on
the board of the Houston AIDS Foundation, 10 years
before his partner died of the virus in 1994, serving
four years as the board's chairman. He spent six months in
India as a Fulbright scholar and has won several human
rights awards for his social justice work.
strong feelings about right and wrong, which often ran
deep but, as those who knew him can attest, not often
silent," an obituary prepared by friends read. "He did
not hesitate to utilize any means necessary to obtain
justice, often not just for one but for all."
One of his more
memorable cases was a case against a dental franchise
that refused to treat people living with AIDS. (Michelle