The official newspaper of the Vatican has harshly criticized a French Catholic magazine's gay marriage endorsement.

The paper L'Osservatore Romano said it “regrets” Temoignage Chretien's endorsement of the government's plans to legalize such unions possibly as early as next year.

(Related: Tens of thousands march in Paris to support gay marriage plans.)

“Homosexuality has been persecuted or oppressed for many centuries,” the magazine wrote. “However, it is a sexual orientation as legitimate and worthy as heterosexuality. … To deny homosexuals the [marriage] contract would add yet another discrimination to those they have been too often subjected to.”

Marriage “is not only, as Temoignage Chretien (Christian Witness) writes, a contract like any other, which might work out or not, but the institution is the base of the family, born to protect and ensure the birth of children,” the Vatican's paper wrote.

“To say that marriage between a man and a woman is like that between two homosexuals is a denial of the truth that damages one of the basic structures of human society, the family.”

The article, written by the paper's editor, Lucetta Scaraffina, also argues against gay adoption, saying it deprives children of their biological parents.