WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2011 ( – The Obama administration’s head of education has encouraged all U.S. school districts to host student groups that affirm homosexuality.

In a letter to educators June 14 picked up by, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that “gay-straight alliance” (GSA) groups “can play an important role in promoting safer schools and creating more welcoming learning environments.”

The letter, issued from the department’s Office of Civil Rights, emphasized that the Equal Access Act was “rooted in principles of equal treatment and freedom of expression” and would therefore protect secondary schools that sanctioned homosexual groups

“I encourage every school district to make sure that its administrators, faculty members, staff, students, and parents are familiar with these principles in order to protect the rights of all students — regardless of religion, political or philosophical views, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” said Duncan.

He concluded by encouraging educators to “go beyond what the law requires in order to increase students’ sense of belonging.”