MA City to Give Same-Sex Married Public Employees a Stipend

Cambridge will soon start making payments to same-sex married public employees to defray the cost of what city officials call a discriminatory federal tax.

The city beginning in July will pay quarterly stipends to city employees in a same-sex marriage who must pay federal taxes on the value of the health benefits their spouse receives from the city.

Federal law requires employers to calculate the value of the benefits received by a same-sex spouse as taxable income to the employee, while health benefits of an opposite-sex spouse are not taxable.

Sarah Warbelow of the Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian and gay civil rights organization, tells The Boston Globe that Cambridge is the first community in the nation to start the practice.

The stipend will cost the city about $33,000 per year.

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