Your Letters: Gay Marriage, Space Travel, Sports

Host Scott Simon reads letters from listeners.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters. My remarks last week about gay marriage sparked some critical responses, including this one from Steven Zalaterevsky(ph) of Washington, D.C.: I was deeply disappointed to hear Scott's reference to today's essay on progress toward greater acceptance for gay couples depicting those who cannot display such acceptance as bigots. Devout adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam understand that while open acceptance of homosexuality is not conducive to a healthy society, it is most harmful to those who engage in this way of life. This is not the view of a bigot, but of one who cares about other human beings.

Others had a different response. Jennifer Feller of Arlington, Massachusetts writes: Thank you for taking a moment to reflect on the progress we're making as a nation, bringing equal rights to yet another group. I'm so grateful my children are growing up in a world where they know that who they choose to love will not hinder the full expression of who they chose to become.

Our conversation with astronaut Mark Kelly and how the discomforts of space travel might accumulate on a long Mars mission brought this from Alison Rittenhouse(ph) of Madison, Virginia: My husband is active duty Navy and is deployed on a destroyer crew of 300. Hundreds of days in close confines with the same people is normal for our military. Perhaps the space program should consider sending their crew along. They would learn quickly the skills needed to keep the peace after looking at the same people for 200-plus days.

Now, every now and then we get emails from listeners who ask, why do you cover sports? - often telling us they don't listen to NPR to hear about sports, so why do we include it on our show? I usually reply that we consider sports -like music, drama, dance, literature, and art - to be part of life.

But Tom Rebee(ph) of Santa Fe, New Mexico asks: I wonder if NPR has ever asked what percentage of their listeners are interested in sports. Time spent on sports is time wasted for your listeners.

So we asked our audience insight and research staff to crunch the numbers. They report that NPR listeners tend to be more interested in participating in some sports, and just as interested as any other group in watching sports.

Finally, listeners shared their stories of spell-checking madness after hearing our interview with Mike Calcagno about Microsoft's spell check dictionary. From Patricia Barber of Seattle: When my sister was on her way to visit from California, I signed off on my email to her, confirming arrival time with hasta manana. Spell check immediately asked if I meant tasty banana? Needless to say, it's become a family sign-off.

You want to sound off before you sign off - visit our Web site, npr.org, click on the Contact Us link, and don't forget to tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name. Tasty banana, baby.

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