In the News on Wednesday: Divorce, Gambling Laws, and Egyptian-Style Homeland Security

by Admin on November 23, 2011

1)      California will allow same-sex couples to divorce in 2012

In January 2012, California state Legislature bill SB651 will go into effect, allowing same-sex couples who married in 2008 to divorce. Roughly 18 thousand same-sex couples married in California between May and November 2008, when gay marriage was briefly legalized in the state; however, the couples who married during this time later found themselves unable to divorce if they had since moved away from California. The bill in question will allow same-sex couples to divorce according to California law and file the dissolution order in the California county where they married, meaning that couples living in other states will be able to file within that specific California country for a divorce, rather than in a state that prohibits both gay marriage and divorce.

Thailand, despite its reputation of tolerance for individuals of varying sexual orientations, also prohibits gay marriage. Moreover,Thailand divorce lawyers report that these restrictions extend to transgendered individuals, as Thailand considers the original gender of the individual in question to be permanent. A transgendered Thai woman cannot marry under Thai law, and furthermore, foreign partners of Thai transgendered women are not eligible for Thai marriage visas, even if the couple in question has been married under foreign laws. See our popular reader picks:

1) Legal Rights of Transgenders and their Partners in Thailand

2)US Visa Discrimination against LGBT

2)      Massachusetts expands legal gambling to promote job growth


In a bid to boost the state’s economy, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has signed a law expanding legal gambling in the state via slots parlors and casinos. According to the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the bill may create roughly 10 thousand new jobs across the state, and bring in an annual tax revenue of at least $350 million USD. Not too shabby…but should gaming legalization be used as a strategy for other struggling economies as well?

In Thailand at least, government attitudes towards gaming are unlikely to change, despite the damage done to the Thai economy by this year’s flood disaster. With the exception of the national lottery, gambling is forbidden in Thailand– but you’d never know it. Some estimates indicate that 70 percent of Thais are regular gamblers, enjoying games in semi-underground betting parlors, on the streets, and on the internets. Those disinclined to break Thai law can get their fix in a variety of locations in Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, with the casinos in the Cambodian border town of Poi Pet standing out as a particularly active gaming spot. Farangs traveling in Thailand should be aware, however, that gambling is indeed illegal and an offense that is technically punishable with a 1,000 bhat fine and jail time;  tourists should avoid hecklers promoting gambling dens as being legal for tourists, as such tactics may just be scams leading to arrest. For help with any issue regarding Thai law or arrest in Thailand, contact a Thailand lawyer.

3)      Egyptian State Security Service changes name to “Homeland Security”


According to news reports, the feared State Security Service in Egypt, also know as the “secret police” has changed its name to “Homeland Security“, as part of a major reshuffle instigated by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior. The secret police , which is comprised of nearly 100,000 individuals, has been accused of a variety of abuses including torturing prisoners, bugging phone calls, and spying on prominent scholars suspected of political dissension. Considering the serious allegations laid at the feet of this group, it is surprising that its US counterpart has not protested the usurpation of its name.

4)      Facebook and Divorce

What do social media and divorce have in common? Both are increasingly common in the US– so common, in fact, that it was inevitable that at some point these two concepts would overlap somehow. This month, a Connecticut judge ordered a couple to exchange Facebook passwords as part of divorce proceedings. What does this mean? For starters, its a hint  that social media may now be used in court cases in the same ways that email correspondences, telephone records, and letters might be used as evidence. Indeed, considering the rate at which social media interactions are replacing these more traditional forms of communication, divorce lawyers have conceded that the trend of using social media in divorce cases may soon spread to courtrooms around the globe.

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