NOM’s Thomas Peters Critically Injured (Updated)

Jim Burroway

July 17th, 2013

Catholic Vote has confirmed the numerous tweets saying that National Organization for Marriage’s Thomas Peters was seriously injured in a car accident. According to Catholic Vote, Peters “sustained major injuries. He is awake, responsive, and in stable but critical condition.” Elizabeth Scalia, who writes for several conservative Catholic publications (and who is not related to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia), tweeted that Peters neck was broken. There’s been no word from NOM yet.

Peters is NOM’s Director of Communications and resident young-guy-who-opposes-marriage-equality, vociferously. His father, Edward Peters, is a well-known Catholic canon lawyer and professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

I’ll echo what Rob Tisinai said. Culture wars are brutal things, but matters of life and death occupy a much higher plane of human concern. We all hope and pray for Peters’s epiphany on the central questions surrounding our families. More so, we hope and pray for his speedy recovery so that epiphany can occur. But in any case, whether that epiphany will ever occur or not,  we hope and pray for his speedy recovery.

Update: Peters’s father, Edward Peters, has posted the following information on Facebook:

Okay, I am sorry, but here’s some news.

Thomas Peters was seriously hurt in a swimming accident Tuesday evening. He fractured his 5th cervical vert. and is at Univ. Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore). Natalie Zmuda Peters is there, and the moms Angela & Becky Z flew out a couple hours ago. He moved an arm on command and is undergoing more tests. He has responded pretty well to the immediate steps taken for him so far. I will stay in touch here. Your prayers and well wishes are deeply appreciated.


Natalie Zmuda Peters is Thomas’s wife. A further update:

Thom can move his arms, docs are discussing the best treatment for his neck injury. Immediate concern is for the considerable water in his lungs. We are astounded at the expressions of prayers and support. Thom & Nat know about it. Please keep them up. Love from us all, EdP.


July 17th, 2013

Wishing a speedy recovery and no spinal/head injuries.


July 17th, 2013

I do not pray, but if I did, I certainly would not pray for a speedy recovery for this man. Why? so he can quickly resume his attacks on our families? I’d rather not spend another second thinking about him at all.

Lindoro Almaviva

July 17th, 2013

Henri: I see your point, and while I do not agree, I see it.

Why wish a speedy recovery and send positive thoughts (even though some might point out he does not deserve them)?

* Because we know better.
* Because if we are going to demand to be treated better, we need to start doing it ourselves.
* Because in moments of tragedy, knowing those who you have attacked are the first ones to show concern IS powerful and life altering.
* Because those who claim to be believers (as they do) should be shown every once in a while how it is done.

So, to Thomas, his wife and his family, prayers for a fast recovery. I hope Thomas will be OK and that you guys will not have to go through the pain of uncertainty for much longer.



July 17th, 2013

I fight the feeling of being manipulated into concern and sympathy by circumstances like these. Even though real manipulation is not often the case, one does know the “expected” response, and can spot the persons waiting for it.

Considering the utter irresponsibility of everything Peters has said about me, his intentions in saying it, his desires for its impact on my life, the very best I can reach is indifference to him and to his poor luck.


July 17th, 2013


Call me a bleeding heart, but I try not to wish bodily harm on anyone (it’s very tempting at times).

We have political/philosophical/policy arguments with Mr. Peters and his ilk. While they certainly don’t wish us well, they (mostly) do not wish us harm. I’ve never read a word he’s ever said besides what gets reprinted here, but he’s one of the more respectful opponents and one in whom I have a faint hope of seeing a change or heart or at least a growing acceptance.

I prefer dancing on graves postmortem (Falwell, Helms, Reagan) to shoving people into them (in thought). I have a LONG, LONG list of those for whom I will do that “happy dance,” but I don’t “look forward” to it.


July 17th, 2013

I should clarify that “respectful” to me means not advocating violence towards us. (I know that’s a really LOW bar…)


July 17th, 2013

The best course of action would be to simply ignore this.

Scott S.

July 17th, 2013

I try (emphasis on that word) to treat people as I would wish to be treated.

I wish Peters and his family well through this difficult time.


July 17th, 2013

Why is everyone acting all lovey dovey just because he’s hurt? He would have all of us thrown in jail if he had the chance. He’s a bad person, and I don’t feel one iota of sadness for him or anyone like him. I don’t wish bad on anyone, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m concerned.


July 17th, 2013

I saw someone dive unknowingly into shallow water once, and he broke his neck. I’ll never forget it. It is a real shame and I’m sorry that it happened to him.


July 17th, 2013

My best wishes go out to him and his family; but it doesn’t change my opinion of any of them.

Gene in L.A.

July 17th, 2013

It’s one thing to hold a grudge against someone. It’s quite another purposely to leave a comment just to say you don’t wish him well. Your bad grace reflects on no one but you.


July 17th, 2013

So Gene, are you suggesting that people lie about their feelings?

Lindoro Almaviva

July 17th, 2013

No Tom, but given how these sites are constantly monitored for ammunition against us (and supporting the “evil queers” point of view) maybe the best course of action is to use that old monicker: “if you have nothing nice to say, shut your pie hole or have another drink”


July 17th, 2013

Actually, given that basically all of the posts here today are essentially about the personal life someone I really wasn’t familiar with (again), I do feel like there’s space to comment.

The postings feel like a reach-out from one professional to a colleague – which makes sense. The editors here at BTB are colleagues with their counterparts at NOM and other organizations. To that extent I respect the sentiments expressed by the editors here toward someone they have interacted with on a regular basis – it’s a shocking reminder of the human condition to be faced with a “there but for the grace of dog go I” moment.

But the rest of us have no such relationship with this person. To us, he’s just someone out to hurt us for no apparent reason. It’s completely natural for us to wish such a person… a speedy retirement. To me it’s a potent reminder for people to mind their own house. Someone like Jerry Falwell would speak in terms of deliverance from evil. I don’t think in those terms, but I’m really not prepared to expend, out of all the emotional energies I have for all the people in the world who need it from me, a second thought for a person who makes his income as a professional distributor of hate against me. As far as I’m concerned, he’s pretty far down on the list of people worth my prayers, let alone my thoughts.

Speaking of which, I have other things I can be doing right now.

Ben In Oakland

July 17th, 2013

Andrew, thank you.

I inadvertently deleted my response, but you said it beautifully.


July 17th, 2013

I’d rather smash someone like Peters in an open debate than capitalize on a freak accident. I wish him a recovery, but one long enough, perhaps, for him to reflect on how pointless one’s life is when one spends it generating hate against total strangers. And perhaps how reprehensible it is to do it for money.


July 17th, 2013

As a humanitarian, I don’t want anyone to suffer pain including Mr. Peters and his family. As a strategist, I hope Mr. Peters recovers fully and quickly so NOM doesn’t find someone competent to replace him.

Regan DuCasse

July 17th, 2013

Peters has a career not just trying to harm gay people, but when gay people actually have been, has shown indifference.
There are always opportunities in life to walk in another’s shoes. To be given a moment in life to empathize.
Peters most likely doesn’t have the personal intelligence or gift of introspection enough to see his accident as anything like that as it pertains to his life’s work against gay people.
After all, this is one of the few times he can’t blame gay people for it.
Were he at risk of permanent paralysis, he’d have to rethink what his value would be as a man, a newlywed and father to HIS ilk for procreation.
They assert that the value of anyone is in their ability to make babies. That’s the defining reason to marry, and at the foundation of civilization itself.
What could HE contribute then as a quadriplegic?
What about the ideal father he’s always talking about when it comes to caring for the needs of children?
Divorce sometimes follows disability. This will be quite a test for him and his new wife.
An assumption of worth, he’s not willing to assign to anyone gay no matter what their vigor, productivity, or needs if they are in fact in a condition of health more in need of love, support, and physical comfort as Peters is now.
If anything, perhaps this setback will keep him very preoccupied so that he won’t have any time to involve himself in affairs that are none of his anyway.
And we can hope that NOM won’t be able to find anyone with the interest to replace him.
That is the most likely scenario. And by the time he recovers so speedily, NOM will be out of money, out of time and out of energy to bother us anymore.

Scott Rose

July 17th, 2013

The question is not whether Peters will ever have an “epiphany” and favor gay rights; the question is whether he feels any remorse over the gay teens driven to suicide by all of the hate mongering his Church and his group, and he personally, have done. It’s correlation rather than direct causation but it’s still there, he’s still guilty and the gay-bashing victims’ blood is still dripping off of his fingers.

The Lauderdale

July 17th, 2013

“I saw someone dive unknowingly into shallow water once, and he broke his neck. I’ll never forget it. It is a real shame and I’m sorry that it happened to him.”

That’s scary as heck. I never saw something like that, and I can easily imagine you would never forget it. I did talk to a guy once who broke his neck doing the same thing (and survived, obviously), and his description gave me the chills. That common humanity visceral “ow” is enough for me to spare some condolences/hopes for recovery for Mr. Peters.


July 17th, 2013

I feel sorry for him. I hope he recovers.

Richard Poppen

July 17th, 2013

I, too, hope he recovers quickly and completely.

Then when he does, I hope he reflects on how indispensable the support of his wife was, and how important it was that she was able to be by his side without obstacles. I hope he reflects on what would have happened to his wife and family had he died, and how essential it was, to him and to his family, that his wife was recognized as his next of kin, and able to be his survivor for federal benefits and tax purposes. And then I hope he reflects on the humanity he shares with thousands or perhaps millions of gay couples, and how they too deserve the same comforts he received as a matter of course, without anyone giving it a second thought.


July 18th, 2013

I do NOT wish something like this on anyone but you’ll forgive me that after reading the story of another gay teenager taking his life due to bullying if I don’t shed any tears for Thomas.
For those saying NOM and others could use negative posts as ammo,they have no problem invoking Tyler Clementi’s name over and over again to justify their hateful actions.
If I sound harsh I’m sorry but I’ve seen too much injustice,too much bigotry, and too much heartbreak inflicted upon our community to shed a tear for someone who continued his efforts to inflict that on us until his accident.
You reap what you sow.


July 18th, 2013

One of the things all of us in this pitched war of words struggles with is the need to overcome our cynicism, to not lose our own humanity while we decry the hypocrisy and cruelty of our opponents’ words and actions as they move about in a world only they know, spouting nonsensical, self-serving things only they seem to be able to grasp as sound logic. When this young man recovers – and I pray he does – I hope he will realize the blessing it was to have the spouse whom he loves at his side in the hospital, and that he will reconsider pursuing strategies which force those who are LGBT to live in a world where one’s most beloved must sit in a waiting room like a stranger. Life is too short. Hopefully Thomas Peters will finally see that.


July 18th, 2013

Look – you bet your BOTTOM dollar that if Joe Jervis, or Jeremy Hooper or any of the other bloggers on our side of the debate were in a similar situation our opponents would be falling all over themselves “praying that he lives so he can see the error of his ways, find Jesus and come to work for us.” I can also guarantee that if this were to transpire not ONE of us would wake up such a changed man, we would still want to be with our husbands, or find one if we don’t have one already. So to wish the same for Mr. Peters is insane, to wish him is fine, I do, and I did in a tweet to him. But here is the thing, this man supposedly works for a group that claims to be doing the work of “god” yet “god” has allowed this to happen to this man. Maybe if he doesn’t get the irony of this the Universe will see fit to maim Maggie Gallagher, send a plague of boils to Brian Brown and give Bryan Fisher everything we have ever wanted. No amount of “I’m so sorry for him” is EVER going to change any of their minds about us, cause them to work any less hard, or see us in any better light. So screw them, and screw Thomas Peters, I really do hope he “lives” but I also hope that the retribution for his actions is SEVERE.


July 18th, 2013

I’m not a good enough person to wish him a speedy recovery.

His mission in life is to cause harm to me and my community. He and his kind do in fact wish us harm and do everything in their power to promote laws and policies that inflict that harm.

I’m not a good enough person to turn the other cheek to him.

It’s been posted in the comments section of other blogs on this story ‘An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.’ The problem with that is that it isn’t just an eye for an eye. Metaphorically speaking he’s been taking 1000’s of eyes. His job and passion is to take eyes. The fact that random chance has paid him back in kind *this one time* doesn’t even it out. It doesn’t pay him back 1/10000th of the misery he’s helped bring into the world.

Sadly, he’ll likely not learn anything and his continued work against equality will just further prove that there is no justice inherent in the universe, the only justice is what people struggle to create, one tiny step at a time, year after year, life after life, trying to make the world a better place.

I’m a good enough person to keep trying to make that happen. I’m not a good enough person to wish the best for people who’s life mission is to try and stop me.

Ben in Oakland

July 18th, 2013

“I’m a good enough person to keep trying to make that happen. I’m not a good enough person to wish the best for people who’s life mission is to try and stop me.”

Also beautifully put.


July 18th, 2013

Gosh I hope and pray he didn’t have to suffer from having a first responder care for him who is in a same-sex marriage.

The entire downfall of civilization could occur based on that action.

Let’s hope for his recovery from his long term untreated mental illness.



July 18th, 2013

22 children have died in India after eating a school lunch consisting of food contaminated with pesticides. I have more compassion for the families of those children whom I never knew than I have for Peters and his family.

Whether Peters recovers or dies is something that is of supreme indifference to me. If he recovers I will have to pick up my philosophical cudgels to do battle with him again. If he dies I will have to pick up my philosophical cudgels to do battle with the next anti-gay bastard to come down the pike.

Regan DuCasse

July 18th, 2013

Well, it’s that time of year. Water accidents will be deadly for the incautious.

A few times outspoken anti gay men, have met sudden deaths. Brain aneurysms, heart attacks…
I suppose an accident was most likely in someone as young as Peters.

But I look at the most visible and active of the anti gay representatives and there is a quality about them where their faces have a RICTUS involved when they are speaking. Even after many years in visual media they still can’t put on a genuine facial expression and I’m thinking because they don’t EVER believe they are speaking to someone smarter, and more morally grounded than they are.

Their confidence in their cause is SO rigid, in the face of other realities, they take on the kind of weird facial cast some mentally ill people do.
Peters is their visual media spokes face because, I’m sure, his cohorts thought he’d attract a much younger and hipper support base.

But when he’s confronted in ways he doesn’t expect and can’t handle, he gets petulant and pulls the blame game.
The SMARTER people would see that as cowardly and entitled. As if he requires ass kissing to get him to show up for an interview.

I’m seeing the folks of NOM becoming SO irrelevant because their behavior is mind numbingly BORING to those who expect a real rip roaring, ratings getting media show.

And Peters just isn’t smart enough, and hasn’t the charisma for it.
Even mores the point, marriage equality opponents are having a hard time competing with issues like the Zimmerman case and the economy.


July 18th, 2013

This incident brings home our frail human similarities rather than our differences. We hope for equality. I equally hope for anyone, regardless of their socio-political views, the same recovery that I would wish for myself.

Timothy (TRiG)

July 18th, 2013

I’m really not prepared to expend, out of all the emotional energies I have for all the people in the world who need it from me, a second thought for a person who makes his income as a professional distributor of hate against me.

I’m a good enough person to keep trying to make that happen. I’m not a good enough person to wish the best for people who’s life mission is to try and stop me.

Thank you, Andrew and Todd.



July 18th, 2013

Andrew and Todd,100% in agreement with you.
Sorry folks,Peters deserves the same amount of compassion he’s shown the LGBT community and their suffering over the years,which is none at all.

Priya Lynn

July 18th, 2013

It was god’s will.


July 19th, 2013

I wouldn’t wish a major neck injury on *anybody.*


August 4th, 2013

I would certainly not wish physical harm to come to him, but he really is a pretty awful human being who makes his living by doing his best to ruin the lives of others.

I hope he recovers, but I suspect he will remain exactly the same after he does recover. His dogma will interpret it as 1) a cross to bear and 2) a sign from God that he was miraculously saved to continue his mission.

He has mainly railed against the changes to the American health insurance system from the point of view of what it means regarding birth control, but as a right-winger I wonder how he is finding a traumatic injury and how much it affects him financially. I notice that he is accepting donations.

Spike Connor

August 13th, 2013

Wow, I can’t believe all the hate here for a very injured guy. This has been an eye opener, sadly.


August 13th, 2013

I don’t quite see the hate, Spike. I see where a number of people have expressed sympathy insofar as another human being is hurt, but they’ve brought it back into the context of this man’s life work.

I see a lot of struggles where people want to do the noble thing, but in that context, cannot bring themselves to it. I see some real, heartfelt expressions of a much larger grief. Don’t you?


May 16th, 2014

This is a classy way for gays to handle this news. The writer of the article took the high road and should be commended for it,and gays in general will be seen in a better light because of that.


May 29th, 2014

I feel really sorry for him and I do hope he will be able to recover soon.

I am sure he was fighting for something he honestly believed to be right and worth advocating. I might be of an entirely different opinion, but that doesn’t mean I am going to stay indifferent when presented with someone’s suffering. I truly wish him all the best.

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