Roman Catholic bishops say they are disappointed with a string of gay marriage wins on Election Day.

After leading the charge against marriage equality in 2008, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has slowly divested itself from the fight, perhaps out of deference to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who practices the faith. The financial burden was shifted to the Catholic Church, whose leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, have become increasingly outspoken on the issue.

The church also created a website to spread their message. Marriage: Unique for a Reason is sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is helmed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, an ardent opponent of marriage rights for gay couples.

On November 6, three states legalized gay nuptials at the ballot box – Maine, Washington state and Maryland – and Minnesotans rejected an effort to ban it through a constitutional amendment.

The losses leave opponents in a bind. Not only has the money shifted away from them, but their entire strategy of looking to the electorate to either ban marriage equality or repeal it failed for the first time.

We need to “redouble our efforts to defend marriage, to preach about what marriage is, and to hope people understand it as a unique relationship that does not discriminate against anyone, but is for the good of children and for the good of society,” said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

Other leaders echoed the sentiment.

“We will continue to work to strengthen marriage, and defend it against all forms of its weakening, for the good of all society,” the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis said in a statement.

J. Peter Sartain, the archbishop of Seattle and an outspoken opponent of extending the right to marry to gay couples, added: “I am disappointed that so many voters failed to recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the natural institution for the permanent, faithful covenant of love for a couple, for bringing children into the world, and for nurturing and educating those children. This change in civil law is not in the best interest of children or society.”

(Related: Vatican denies gay marriage advances.)