Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts will be allowed to refuse gay couples adoption rights, according to the state’s Department of Early Education.

Although stopping gay couples adopting comes under anti discrimination laws, the department said there would be no action taken as Governor Mitt Romney is planning legislation to give religious groups an exemption.

State Attorney Constantia Papanikolaou told The Boston Globe, “We’re going to wait and see how the legislation plays out.”

But gay groups are awaiting a new governor, who will enforce the anti discrimination laws, next year. Gary Buseck, legal director of the Gay Lesbian Advocates Defenders in Boston, said: “The illegality shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”

He said his group has chosen a strategy of “watching and waiting,” rather than confrontation.

Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts have requested that Christian social service agencies are exempt from gay adoption laws. The bishops said state law compromised their religious freedom by ordering them to consider gay people as adoptive parents.