White House to Texas: You're staying in America. The Obama administration has officially rejected a petition signed by more than 125,000 people demanding that the Lone Star State be allowed to leave the union, the Houston Chronicle reports. Similar petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, all started within a few days of President Obama's re-election, were also nixed. The White House said the Founding Fathers who created the US "did not provide a right to walk away from it."
"In a nation of 300 million people—each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs—democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," wrote the director of the Office of Public Engagement. "Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted." The Obama administration received secession petitions from all 50 states, but only responded to the ones that gained more than 25,000 signatures. (Read more secession stories.)