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BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 02:18 AM

Queen Sofia's Views on Gay Marriage
 
It was quite a shock to see Queen Sofia featured in this month's Gay Times. Unfortunately it wasn't a pleasant suprise. Comments made by the Queen in interviews for her new biography have been leaked and they don't show her to be the nice lady I imagined. Her comments included condemning gay marriage and she even said that she'd attend a protest against gay pride parades calling gay people, "those people". She says being homosexual is 'unnatural and shouldn't be encouraged' and Queen Sofia hasn't denied the comments she made, she's simply said she made the comments in a private context.

I find this really disappointing. I know of the Queen's religious background but surely she has to represent all Spanish people, including the LGBT community? Doesn't she realise that it's precisely her anti-gay standpoint that means we have to have gay pride parades? This is a great shame and I know Spanish gay rights groups have demanded an apology which they've been told they won't get. What are other people's views on this? Personally I'm really upset by these comments. I've always respected Queen Sofia but this has made me totally re-evaluate my opinion of her. A great shame.

randomlyKeira 01-06-2009 02:32 AM

I actually would be more ashamed if she had openly condoned gay relationships. I think she kept to what she really belives, that being her strict catholic faith. She is practically a friend of the Pope, how would she explain making comments about approving of something that the bible so obviously condems? "Sorry Your Holiness, you know that the Spanish people would have been mad at me if I didn't say that, so I threw away my religion for a minute"??

I, of course, am not saying that I approve of the comments. She should not have said anything, but since she did, I am actually proud of her responce. She did not fold to public opinion of what she was expected to say, rather sticking to what she really believed.

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 02:39 AM

See, I agree that she's entitled to personal opinions but I think in this instance she's actually going against the Spanish government's official line on gay rights which surely oversteps the mark as Queen Consort? Her comments actually bear little resemblance to the line of the Vatican either and that's what I find confusing - it's simply an attack on gay people in Spain and she knew that the interview was being used as a base for a new biography so she seems to be quite proud of being a homophobe. Which I find strange.

Jacknch 01-06-2009 03:49 AM

:bishop:I too am very disappointed not only in the actual sentiments Queen Sofia made but the fact that she felt the need to express them in the first place. We all have our place in the world and we all have the right to formulate opinions on various issues and subjects. However, we cannot express an opinion of something purely on the basis of pre-conceived ideas. Queen Sofia may well be against "gay marriage" but what are people supposed to do in a long term relationship when one of the partners dies and the other has no rights or protection over joint assets etc? Surely ones humane instincts override the purely religious stance instilled within someone by chance? Anyway, "gay marriage" is actually a civil partnership which is a very different thing to the conventional form of marriage between a man and a woman in a church so I cannot see what her problem is! It is regrettable that the Catholic Church uses an unneccesary amount of effort in denouncing same sex partnerships which do no harm at all to human society yet has evidently tried to cover up certain fellonies against youngsters within its own churches by its own priests! I am not against the catholic Church or any other Church but I do wish people would practice what they preach and sort their own house out first before condemning others! That goes for Queen Sofia too!

Marengo 01-06-2009 03:57 AM

Well, the Queens views are hardly surprising for somebody of her age and social class. I would have been more surprised if she would have been in favor of gay marriage, abortion etc. Still HM should have kept her mouth shut and the belittling words she used do not make her a very apealing lady either.

More information about the book that featured the Queens remarks can be found in this thread in the royal library: http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ano-18851.html

Victoria9 01-06-2009 04:16 AM

This situation reminds me of Grand Duc Henri's decision not to sign a Law into effect, regarding euthanasia (which his Prime Minister also opposes). His religion was a direct influence in his refusal, echoing his uncle's famous decision regarding abortion.

Look, it is unfortunate that gay people or supporters feel themselves slighted by the Queen's views -- as yet, unconfirmed may I add. Leaks are sometimes taken out of context.

Perhaps I would too, if I were gay.

But we have to understand that these are living breathing human beings who inhabit these very elevated positions. They have as much right to their opinions, and to air them on occasion, as do the rest of us.

Yes, reigning royalty must keep their counsel, but I think most of us know that for the great part, they do. Far far more than any of us can possibly understand. Just the fact that we know so very little about the Queen (apparently, given her views on this), and the ones we know are often through the at-times ridiculous and malicious filter of media, must be accepted by all of us.

Queen Sofia is a decent, moral, and dignified woman who champions gypsy culture, has a regard for the indigenous peoples of South America which Spain has often mistreated in their history, and is a lifelong pescetarian.

But she is human and allll her viewpoints may not be as "enlightened" as many of us would wish.

So fine, be disappointed (I say this in general, not to anyone in specific). It's human too.

But may I say that it also shows a severity in our thinking, to suddenly be so totally disappointed with her, that we have to change our viewpoints about her, entirely.

EDIT: From the article linked to in a related thread, Queen Sofia mentions precisely what I say above: about royalty having to be practically plastic, and not utter a word. Even when they are unjustly accused of something, they cannot defend themselves, as if they were mannequins not human beings. My (no doubt poor) translation follows.

Quote:

- "¿Cuesta?"

- "¡Pues claaaaro! ¡No somos de piedra! Hacerse el sordo cuesta. Callarse cuesta. Todos tenemos nuestro amor propio. Pero hay que tragarse el sapo: recibir, saludar, sonreír "qué tal", como si nada. Peor sería que te sacaran de tu sitio."
- Does this [attitude] cost you?

- Duhhh. We're not made of stone, you know! To make oneself out to be a deaf-mute costs us a lot. Shutting up is also hard. We all have our own self-esteem. But we often have to shut up [the Queen uses the much funnier Spanish expression, which is lit. 'one has to swallow the frog'] -- receive people, say hello, smile at them "Hello, how's it going?", as if nothing were wrong. But it would be worse if we showed them they had affected us.

Jacknch 01-06-2009 04:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Victoria9 (Post 876155)
This situation reminds me of Grand Duc Henri's decision not to sign a Law into effect, regarding euthanasia (which his Prime Minister also opposes). His religion was a direct influence in his refusal, echoing his uncle's famous decision regarding abortion.

Look, it is unfortunate that gay people or supporters feel themselves slighted by the Queen's views -- as yet, unconfirmed may I add. Leaks are sometimes taken out of context.

Perhaps I would too, if I were gay.

But we have to understand that these are living breathing human beings who inhabit these very elevated positions. They have as much right to their opinions, and to air them on occasion, as do the rest of us.

Yes, reigning royalty must keep their counsel, but I think most of us know that for the great part, they do. Far far more than any of us can possibly understand. Just the fact that we know so very little about the Queen (apparently, given her views on this), and the ones we know are often through the at-times ridiculous and malicious filter of media, must be accepted by all of us.

Queen Sofia is a decent, moral, and dignified woman who champions gypsy culture, has a regard for the indigenous peoples of South America which Spain has often mistreated in their history, and is a lifelong pescetarian.

But she is human and allll her viewpoints may not be as "enlightened" as many of us would wish.

So fine, be disappointed (I say this in general, not to anyone in specific). It's human too.

But may I say that it also shows a severity in our thinking, to suddenly be so totally disappointed with her, that we have to change our viewpoints about her, entirely.

I have to say that I agree entirely with what you say. You're right about the severity of our thinking and reading back to what I said before is quite scary really! For all the hard humanitarian work Queen Sofia has done over so many years of her life it seems ridiculous to suddenly change my view on her over one thing. Sorry for being so reactionary! :flowers:

Victoria9 01-06-2009 04:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacknch (Post 876166)
I have to say that I agree entirely with what you say. You're right about the severity of our thinking and reading back to what I said before is quite scary really! For all the hard humanitarian work Queen Sofia has done over so many years of her life it seems ridiculous to suddenly change my view on her over one thing. Sorry for being so reactionary! :flowers:

Nice! Thanks for the conciliatory message, Jacknch.

The Queen is a fantastic human being, one of the best in her métier, IMO. Perfect, she ain't. But who is...

chaimae 01-06-2009 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by randomlyKeira (Post 876127)
I actually would be more ashamed if she had openly condoned gay relationships. I think she kept to what she really belives, that being her strict catholic faith. She is practically a friend of the Pope, how would she explain making comments about approving of something that the bible so obviously condems? "Sorry Your Holiness, you know that the Spanish people would have been mad at me if I didn't say that, so I threw away my religion for a minute"??

I, of course, am not saying that I approve of the comments. She should not have said anything, but since she did, I am actually proud of her responce. She did not fold to public opinion of what she was expected to say, rather sticking to what she really believed.

i have to say , that i agree with you.
the queen is free in her view point ,i have considered and i stell that the queen is a great persone , im proud of her ;)

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Victoria9 (Post 876155)
This situation reminds me of Grand Duc Henri's decision not to sign a Law into effect, regarding euthanasia (which his Prime Minister also opposes). His religion was a direct influence in his refusal, echoing his uncle's famous decision regarding abortion.

Look, it is unfortunate that gay people or supporters feel themselves slighted by the Queen's views -- as yet, unconfirmed may I add. Leaks are sometimes taken out of context.

Perhaps I would too, if I were gay.

But we have to understand that these are living breathing human beings who inhabit these very elevated positions. They have as much right to their opinions, and to air them on occasion, as do the rest of us.

Yes, reigning royalty must keep their counsel, but I think most of us know that for the great part, they do. Far far more than any of us can possibly understand. Just the fact that we know so very little about the Queen (apparently, given her views on this), and the ones we know are often through the at-times ridiculous and malicious filter of media, must be accepted by all of us.

Queen Sofia is a decent, moral, and dignified woman who champions gypsy culture, has a regard for the indigenous peoples of South America which Spain has often mistreated in their history, and is a lifelong pescetarian.

But she is human and allll her viewpoints may not be as "enlightened" as many of us would wish.

So fine, be disappointed (I say this in general, not to anyone in specific). It's human too.

But may I say that it also shows a severity in our thinking, to suddenly be so totally disappointed with her, that we have to change our viewpoints about her, entirely.

EDIT: From the article linked to in a related thread, Queen Sofia mentions precisely what I say above: about royalty having to be practically plastic, and not utter a word. Even when they are unjustly accused of something, they cannot defend themselves, as if they were mannequins not human beings. My (no doubt poor) translation follows.

- Does this [attitude] cost you?

- Duhhh. We're not made of stone, you know! To make oneself out to be a deaf-mute costs us a lot. Shutting up is also hard. We all have our own self-esteem. But we often have to shut up [the Queen uses the much funnier Spanish expression, which is lit. 'one has to swallow the frog'] -- receive people, say hello, smile at them "Hello, how's it going?", as if nothing were wrong. But it would be worse if we showed them they had affected us.

You say it's been taken out of context but it really hasn't I'm afraid. She was asked her views on gay marriage and she gave them. In my opinion her comments are unacceptable and I don't buy the fact that because she's over 65 and rich she's naturally homophobic and there's no point debating the issue because she's only human. She may be only human but what she's proved with these comments is that she's an ignorant and bigoted human. Of course these comments don't undo the good work she's done in other areas but it does show a side to her that I really didn't expect to see. Whether she made the comments to a crowd or to a journalist, she said what she said. She doesn't deny that she said it either. Nobody wants Queen Sofia to be perfect but alot of Spanish gay people would like her to represent them just as she represents Spanish straight people - after these comments, she can't.

Amelia 01-06-2009 08:49 AM

Quote:

But may I say that it also shows a severity in our thinking, to suddenly be so totally disappointed with her, that we have to change our viewpoints about her, entirely.
Wow I really disagree with you on this. If I were gay and someone referred to me as “these people” and said that who I am is “unnatural and shouldn’t be encouraged” it would definitely entirely change my opinion of them. Queen Sophia is of course entitled to her own opinions but when she is representing the people of Spain and while her lifestyle is being paid for by the people of Spain, gay, straight or whatever, she should perhaps keep opinions like these to herself.

Idriel 01-06-2009 09:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Victoria9 (Post 876155)
Queen Sofia is a decent, moral, and dignified woman who champions gypsy culture, has a regard for the indigenous peoples of South America which Spain has often mistreated in their history, and is a lifelong pescetarian.

A decent, moral and dignified woman who obviously considers a non-negligible portion of her compatriots to be a sub- category of humans ('those people', really?).
Bigotry is bigotry. It doesn't have to be universal bigotry. You can be a tireless charity worker and at the same time be a big racist. One doesn't cancel the other.

I am also disturbed by the people who are 'proud' of her intolerance just because it's encouraged by the dogma of her religion.
First, the importance of homosexuality in the Bible is nowhere near as predominant as what the Catholic Church teaches (I am a Catholic myself). Homosexuality just isn't a major issue in the Old and even less in the New testament yet the Pope obsess about it.
Second, if I join a religious group that advocate the beating up of men and I send mime to the hospital, would you be proud of me for standing by my religion?
I am being hyperbolic there but the point is that you can't shell yourself behind a set of belief to justify a controversial standpoint. You can use a religion as a starting point but you still have to be able to explain your position to people who do not share your faith.

She is of course entitled to her opinions, but we are entitled to criticize her opinions. 'She's just human' isn't a valid defence there.

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 12:35 PM

Another one of the Queen's comments was; "If those persons want to live together, dress up as bride and groom and get married, they can do so, but that should not be called marriage because it is not". Lovely eh? So basically now "those people" are also transvestites who dress up as brides. Thanks Sofia.

What I find strange about this whole thing is that the Spanish government legalised same-sex marriage in 2005, so does this mean that the Queen stands opposed to the Spanish people? Surely they voted for the Government which had the legalisation of same-sex marriage in it's election platform which means Queen Sofia is at odds with the majority of Spain? Apparantly the Queen has also made comments on euthanasia and abortion as well - why doesn't she ditch her tiara and become an MP if she wants to be so political?

Victoria9 01-06-2009 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeatrixFan (Post 876226)
You say it's been taken out of context but it really hasn't I'm afraid.

That's not what I said. I said often things people say are mischaracterised or misquoted. I later add through 'the filter of media', who have political and social agenda of their own. This is not insignificant when dealing with royalty -- as we all know.

It strikes me as particularly telling that people are willing to believe the worst about Queen Sofia, when a few seconds before that, they thought the best.

I am giving her the benefit of the doubt, given the fact that I have yet to read exactly what she said (in Spanish, translations are yet another filter). An extract regarding something about to be published is not enough for me, at least.

Finally, let me say this, in general.

People know that the Queen has enormous amounts of cultivation, and a great regard for the arts. If people think she is a homophobe, I think you have to redefine what that means, because to my certain knowledge, she has had various gay friends throughout her life, precisely from the field of the arts.

Don't try to impose on this poor woman sweeping draconian standards of belief. It's unworthy of everything we know about her.

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 12:55 PM

Nobody is suggesting that the Queen hasn't done her bit for the arts, I'm not sure how that's even pertinent to the issue and to be honest I think that you're buying into a stereotype that all gay people are in the arts, Sofia supports the arts so she's not a homophobe. At least thats how it comes across from your post.

Let's look at what we do know about her - she's made comments that are, without a do ubt, homophobic. There is no benefit of the doubt to be given because there's no question that she said what she said and what's more, she said what she said to a biographer knowing it'd be made public and attributed to her. And having gay friends has nothing to do with it, certainly if she did have gay friends she probably won't have them now.

Nobody's imposing anything, we're simply stating fact and I think to call her a 'poor woman' is a bit ridiculous. She's an ignorant woman, a bigoted woman and no - her comments don't undo any good she's done in any field - her comments just show a side to her that's plain unpleasant. There can be no legitimate defence of homophobia in my mind and I find it quite ironic that the Spanish gay community look to their Government to protect them from gay-hate crimes yet the Queen of Spain is an out and out homophobe.

Victoria9 01-06-2009 01:06 PM

Quote:

I'm not sure how that's even pertinent to the issue and to be honest I think that you're buying into a stereotype that all gay people are in the arts, Sofia supports the arts so she's not a homophobe.
This is the second time you slightly twist what was written, and add your own interpretation. Please read it again.

Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians didn't like homosexuals either (she was also very Catholic and very personally conservative, though she might've been politically liberal). She wore the Star of David around her neck during WWII, as a sign of solidarity with Jews, an act which might've gotten her killed.

Let me preempt anyone before they misunderstand this circuitous point again. My exact point is that people often fail in some areas, whereas they show enormous humanity in others.

Queen Sofia's reputation is such with me, that I, at least, will give her the benefit of the doubt as long as possible.

Jacknch 01-06-2009 02:14 PM

:frazzled:Hello All! I've been doing some research on google to read up on the various articles written about what Queen Sofia said and it seems to me (in my opinion) that her comments might not have been so outwardly homophobic after all. She clearly is not against same sex couples "tying the knot" and respects and accepts the fact that people do have different sexualities. Her view is, however, that it is not "matrimony" and that there are other phrases to call it by. I am entering into a civil partnership next year and have to admit that matrimony/gay wedding are phrases I have certainly not used in this context (my bog fat gay wedding has been mentioned but only in jest). It is a "civil partnership" quite distinct from a marriage or matrimony in the so-called conventional sense and I am quite proud of the fact that there is this distinction. There will be no "bride" or "groom" or even two "grooms". There will be no white suit and black suit nor dresses or bridesmaids or throwing about of bouquets! So Queen Sofia's view that gay people dress up as bride and groom is wrong (in most cases I think).

With regard to Queen Sofia's views on the Gay Pride March, I think her stance is simplistic and not well informed. On the face of it, I agree that if straight people took to the street on floats etc to say how proud they are be straight traffic would indeed halt. But straight people have never really needed to show a stand against inequality nor have they been in a position where their voice has never been heard. By marching and holding gay pride around the world, gay people have been able to show a stand against homophobia and felt free to express themselves (some for the first time in their lives) in a large group without the fear of reprisal. Had Queen Sofia looked in to the issues of repression against gay people which incodentally still goes on, she might have understood why some gay people attend gay pride and the meaning behind it all.

There remain many miths about gay people and as with other "groups" of people you can never generalise.

Maybe some of the Spanish members can shed some light on this whole issue.

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 02:23 PM

Quote:

Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians didn't like homosexuals either (she was also very Catholic and very personally conservative, though she might've been politically liberal). She wore the Star of David around her neck during WWII, as a sign of solidarity with Jews, an act which might've gotten her killed.
But surely you see that being pro-Jewish against an anti-semitic regime doesn't cancel out homophobic views? If anything, surely Queen Elisabeth should have shown just as much solidarity with persecuted homosexuals as she did with persecuted Jews? I'm not really sure what you mean by 'giving [Sofia] the benefit of the doubt' when there's actually no doubt that she said what she said. I'll happily admit that Queen Sofia has done some amazing charity work and again, this isn't cancelled out because she made homophobic remarks - but similarly, her homophobic remarks aren't cancelled out by her good works.

The issue here isn't whether she's good or bad as a person, I wouldn't dare judge her, I'm in no position to but I can say that her comments are not only offensive but hurtful and I think I'm not alone in being disappointed that she feels this way about gay people. I can accept that she's always been surrounded by strong religious views on moral issues, first as an Orthodox Christian and then as a Roman Catholic, but her position as Queen of Spain brings with it a responsibility to represent all of Spain, not just the parts populated by those who agree with her on moral issues. It'd be like a Prime Minister only representing those who voted for him, he has a responsibility to represent everyone and that's where I think Queen Sofia has failed.

Add to that the fact that she's actually being a hypocrite - she condemns gay rights supposedly based on her religious views as a Catholic but yet she happily ignored the Catholic teaching on divorce when her son married Letizia. So does the Queen only stand by the Catholic catechism when it suits her and doesn't affect her family? It's a sad turn of events.

Victoria9 01-06-2009 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeatrixFan (Post 876395)
I'm in no position to but I can say that her comments are not only offensive but hurtful and I think I'm not alone in being disappointed that she feels this way about gay people.

I think this is at the root of the situation for you. It hurts you personally. Others may not be so affected by her words, however startling I do think they are. I am more interested in the Queen's motivation, than what she actually said.

Since posting, I have been ruminating on all the possible ways this thread could've gone: most of them having to do with injecting ourselves into a topic, as individuals, to answering questions posed by a forum colleague. I prefer the impersonal to opinions. The historical to the rumours.

I guess I am a little cold that way. But I think it's the right way to be, when dealing with people we don't know (I speak as a trained Historian, alas).

BeatrixFan 01-06-2009 02:54 PM

Well yes, being gay myself it does affect me more personally than others but I'd like to think that everyone would condemn homophobia when they hear it. You mention Sofia's motivation and to me, thats what makes this so confusing. Why make these comments to a biographer? It's as though she's been dying to make a stand against gay people for a long time and this was her opportunity. With respect you seem to be missing the fact that she DID say these things. There's no rumour about it, it's not changed by our opinions - the fact is this; Queen Sofia made homophobic remarks which she knew would be published. So her motivation is either to deliberately hurt or her motivation is being very unwise and a little bit silly. Can someone with her experience really be so naive? I personally don't think so.

I don't believe that a woman so educated and so wise in her affairs in other areas could be so foolish in this one.


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