Spain’s Queen Sofia has angered gay groups following anti-gay statements in her up-coming biography, titled The Queen Up Close.

The excerpts from the official biography, which were leaked by El Pais newspaper, surprised many as the Spanish monarchy has traditionally been reticent to comment on controversial political and social issues.

“I can understand, accept and respect that there are people of other sexual tendencies, but should they be proud to be gay? Should they ride on a parade float and come out in protests? If all of those of us who aren’t gay came out to protest we would halt traffic,” she says in the book.

The Greek-born Sofia, who is married to King Juan Carlos, also comments on the recent legalisation of same-sex marriage in Spain.

“If those people want to live together, dress up like bride and groom and marry, they could have a right to do so, or not, depending on the law of their country, but they should not call this matrimony,” she says, “because it isn’t. There are many possible names: social contract, social union.”

The Barcelona-based State Federation of Lesbians, Gays and Transsexuals asked the Queen to retract her comments, adding that, “It is unprecedented that the palace, which usually never comments on social issues, now has to vent about one group of citizens who have been discriminated against in the past.”

Written by journalist Pilar Urbano, The Queen Up Close was released on Sunday on the anniversary of the Queen’s 70th birthday.

In response to the flap, the palace released a statement regretting the “the inexactitude” of the quotes and that she has a “deep respect for all people, her closeness to all those who suffer, are hounded or persecuted.”

Urbano and the publishers have stood by the accuracy of the statements.

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