Catholic Charities in Boston have announced that they will end their adoption programme in reaction to laws forcing them to allow gay people to adopt.

The statement comes after months of infighting and was met with disapproval from gay-rights groups.

In a statement released last week, the Archdiocese of Boston said its board couldn’t resolve conflicts between what the Catholic Church states and the Massachusetts law. Therefore, it said it would abandon the Catholic Charities administered programme at the end of its current contract.

The decision was met with outcry by America’s biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC.)

HRC president Joe Solmonese said: “Denying children a loving and stable home serves absolutely no higher purpose.”

“These bishops are putting an ugly political agenda before the needs of very vulnerable children. Every one of the nation’s leading children’s welfare groups agrees that a parent’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child. What these bishops are doing is shameful, wrong and has nothing to do whatsoever with faith.”

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) has promised to seek an exemption from state law for religious organisations.