Parenting Questions

New film about lesbian parents prompts therapist at a Veterans Affairs Department clinic to tell New York Post the ''male-female role model'' is likely needed for parenting

Andrea Peyser’s scathing New York Post review of The Kids Are All Right – titled ”‘The Kids’ are not all right” – attempts to dismiss the film (and all of Hollywood) as the propaganda arm of the much-feared ”gay agenda.” Her July 15 column quotes parents and contains plenty of her own opinions – but ends with a quote from a therapist who questions the standing of same-sex families and also turns out to be a federal employee charged with counseling veterans.

Peyser states her thesis without subtlety: ”Folks are happy with gays living together. But bringing children into the equation is a deal-breaker.”

To purportedly back this up, Peyser finds a ”Brooklyn mom of two boys” to say ”Hollywood has set the stage for the gay agenda, nothing new.” She then turns to a ”Connecticut mom of two girls,” who says, ”Hollywood – we don’t care about the sick lives you lead behind closed doors. Just don’t bring children into it.”

With that opinion-based rhetoric in place, Peyser concludes the piece by going to a more formal source, noting that ”therapist Karen Kopitz saw through the gay proselytizing.”

Peyser then quotes Kopitz, an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is listed as ”key staff” at the Department’s Manhattan Vet Clinic, as saying, ”I’m not anti-gay. But I don’t think you can compensate for the male-female role model.”

Kopitz’s statement runs contrary to the official position of the National Association of Social Workers, which as recently as 2009 filed an amicus brief supporting gay and lesbian adoption in an ongoing Florida case challenging that state’s ban on gay adoption. As early as 2002, the NASW Delegate Assembly adopted a formal policy supporting ”second-parent adoptions in same-sex households” and stating that ”[l]egislation seeking to restrict foster care and adoption by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people should be vigorously opposed.”

Kevin Nix, a spokesman with the Family Equality Council, told Metro Weekly, ”The nation’s most respected and professional therapists disagree with Ms. Kopitz. So do child welfare experts, including the Child Welfare League of America. I think an appropriate question to ask is, ‘What are Ms. Kopitz’s credentials in the area of parenting?’

”She likely knows little about gay parenting. Role models are role models. Period. And kids need them wherever they can find them,” Nix said. ”The 1950s Ozzie-and-Harriet definition of family went out long ago. Welcome to the age of the modern family where kids raised by LGBT parents are just as healthy and productive as those raised by straight parents.”

In the Child Welfare League of America’s official position statement on the matter, it ”affirms that lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts.”

James Blue, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs, responded to Metro Weekly‘s inquiry about Kopitz’s public comment on July 15, writing, ”The article did not reference the therapist’s professional affiliation. This is not a matter for the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Blue has not responded to further inquiries about Kopitz’s employment status and whether the Department of Veterans Affairs is concerned about its therapists holding and publicly expressing these views that run contrary to nearly all professional child welfare and psychological organizations.

Kopitz was not at the Clinic on Monday, July 19, and a receptionist said that she did not know when she would be returning.