We the People website, which prompted discussion of Piers Morgan and a US Death Star, leads to official response

The United States are set to remain united for the foreseeable future, after the White House issued a polite "no" in answer to calls for secession from parts of the South.

Petitions had been submitted to the We the People website, which is run by the White House, from discontented individuals in eight states – South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. Each called for their state to be allowed to withdraw from the union. Each petition having attracted more than 25,000 names, the White House was obliged to respond.

The task of responding to the petitions for secession – which has not been tried since the end of the American Civil War in 1865 seemed to have settled the question – fell to Jon Carson, director of the office of public engagement. In thanking the petitioners, Carson noted in a statement posted on Friday that democracy can be "noisy and controversial".

"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," he said. "But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."

Carson went on to explain that the founding fathers established the constitution of the United States "in order to form a more perfect union". They enshrined in law the right to change the national government through the ballot, Carson said, "but they did not provide a right to walk away from it."

Since being launched, the We the People has seen the White House obliged respond to a number of petitions, from a call to deport the CNN host Piers Morgan, thanks to his views on gun control, to demands that the US should build a Star Wars-esque Death Star, for the purposes of the nation's defence.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

[Image via Agence France-Presse]