[JURIST] ProtectMarriage.com, one of two groups attempting to present a same-sex marriage ban [CA Secretary of State summary] to California voters in 2006, has halted its efforts [press release] for failure to gather the required 598,105 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot. The deadline for submission of the signatures was Tuesday. The group cited current political climate and timing as the reason the bid was dropped, but will reconsider the issue in 2008. The other group seeking a constitutional amendment, VoteYesMarriage.com has postponed its own petition drive, but is raising money to hire professional signature gatherers and is pressing on with its general campaign [press release, PDF]. Last year, California's legislature became the first state to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST report; AB 849 text, PDF], but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it [JURIST report]. The New York Times has more.