By Charlotte Alter
May 13, 2016

GOP delegates at Texas’s Republican Party state convention will vote Friday on whether the state should secede from the U.S., after the idea passed a special platform committee on Wednesday.

The motion is not expected to pass the convention, but it’s a major step forward for activists with the Texas Nationalist Movement, who have long been agitating for the Lone Star State to secede from the union. The group reported a 400% increase in membership after the 2012 election, and more than 100,000 people signed a Change.org petition to the White House asking it to allow Texas’s secession.

Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, responded to the petition by citing the Supreme Court’s 1869 decision in Texas v. White, which ruled “[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.”

“As much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart,” Carson wrote.

 

 

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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