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Puerto Rico bans gay 'conversion therapy'

People take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico
People take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico AFP/File
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Miami (AFP)

Puerto Rico on Wednesday banned the practice of so-called gay "conversion therapy," which seeks to change the sexual orientation of people who are gay or bisexual.

"Today we take a step forward to raise awareness among the people about this type of practice that causes pain and suffering," said Governor Ricardo Rossello, adding that the ban would help "protect children."

"Love and respect should always prevail without distinction of sexual orientation, race, color or religion."

Rossello also prohibited psychologists in the US territory in the Caribbean from offering these services.

The American Psychological Association eliminated homosexuality from its list of "mental disorders" in 1973 and made public in 2000 its stance against "discrimination, prejudice and immoral treatment" of conversion therapies.

Fifteen states of the United States and numerous counties have banned such therapies.

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