Canada's House of Commons approves bill to ban LGBT conversion therapy

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A customer withdraws money from an ATM at a Toronto-Dominion (TD) bank branch adorned in colours of the Pride rainbow flag symbolizing gay rights, in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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OTTAWA, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Canada's House of Commons on Wednesday voted unanimously to ban LGBT conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity and has been condemned by medical professionals.

The measure, proposed by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, must now be approved by the upper Senate chamber.

The House approved an earlier version of the bill in June but it failed to get through the Senate before Trudeau called a September election.

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"It's an important day to ... express yourself and understand yourself the way you are and the way you want to be," Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters.

Conversion therapy can include talk therapy, hypnosis, electric shocks and fasting. The American Medical Association has called the practice as harmful and ineffective.

Senior gay Liberals, some fighting back tears, said the vote meant members of the LGBT community would never again have to face mistreatment.

"We said we wanted people to be on the right side of history on this issue. No one can consent to torture," said Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who is also a special advisor to Trudeau on LGBT issues.

"It's a great day for survivors, to know that no one else is going to go through what they went through," he added.

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Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Alistair Bell

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