December 19, 2011; Source: The Huffington Post | Start-ups, social enterprises, various groups, and individuals have turned to crowdfunding websites to raise capital for their ventures. These entrepreneurs solicit contributions from investors and donors through such websites as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.


Award-winning photojournalist Amanda Lucidon is among those raising money through crowdfunding.

Lucidon’s The Legal Stranger Project documents, through a series of intimate personal stories, the great disparities encountered by lesbian and gay couples under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, according to Lucidon, “allows the federal government to merely recognize these couples as ‘legal strangers.'”

DOMA was signed into law under the Clinton administration, and limits federal recognition of marriage to straight couples.

Lucidon was inspired by what she witnessed when marriage equality was legalized in Washington, D.C. two years ago. So was she dismayed by what she learned?

“I met Amy Sokal and Alex Khalaf, a couple whose lives I’d end up documenting,” Lucidon said. “At first I thought I would follow Amy and Alex’s journey through the first year as newlyweds after D.C. legalized marriage for same-sex couples. But as I began to look deeper into the issue, I discovered that there are actually 1,138 federal rights, benefits, and entitlements associated with marriage.”

She reflected on how she and her husband, along with other married straight couples, are automatically entitled to such benefits. She began asking friends, “Did you know you’re entitled to 1,138 rights when you get married?”

Most people had no clue. Lucidon was spurred to act. “I wanted to take a closer look at the issue to see the personal impact on same-sex couples and families.”

She has since spoken to and documented stories of lesbian and gay couples. Lucidon hopes to share these stories to a broader audience, but like so many other documentarians, funding has been a challenge.

Lucidon has started a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo to help offset the ongoing costs of the Legal Stranger Project. She hopes that others will help her shed light on the injustice suffered by lesbian and gay couples by donating, sharing the campaign link, or following the project’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.—Erwin de Leon